WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — Vermont Senator and former presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders said in an interview Tuesday that he was not “comfortable” with Twitter banning former President Donald Trump.
“You have a former president in Trump, who is a racist, a sexist, a homophobe, a xenophobe, a pathological liar, an authoritarian, somebody who doesn’t believe in the rule of law,” said Sanders on the “The Ezra Klein Show”. “This is a bad news guy. But if you’re asking me, do I feel particularly comfortable that the president, the then president of the United States could not express his views on Twitter? I don’t feel comfortable about it.”
Sanders said social media sites shouldn’t allow “hate speech and conspiracy theories” on their platforms but worried over the potential repression of First Amendment rights.
“It is an issue that we have got to be thinking about. Because of anybody who thinks anybody who thinks yesterday it was Donald Trump who was banned and tomorrow it could be somebody else who has a very different point of view,” Sanders said. “So I don’t like giving that much power to a handful of high tech people, but the devil is obviously in the details and it’s something we’re going to have to think long and hard on, and that is how you preserve First Amendment rights without moving this country into a big lie mentality and conspiracy theories.”
Twitter banned President Donald Trump’s account in January, citing “the risk of further incitement of violence” following the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Trump was also banned from other social media platforms including Facebook and Youtube.
“I do not celebrate or feel pride in our having to ban @realDonaldTrump from Twitter,“ Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey wrote following the ban. But he added: ”I believe this was the right decision for Twitter.”
Twitter last week said it would seek public input on when and how it should ban world leaders, saying it was reviewing policy and considering whether the leaders should be held to the same rules as other users.
A senior adviser to the former president said earlier this week that Trump plans to launch his own social media platform in two or three months. Trump also opened an “Office of the Former President” in January that handles his duties as former president and to further his adminstrations agenda.
NewsNation affiliate WTRF contributed to this report.