Julia Jester, an embed reporter with NBC News, asked U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, on the campaign trail if she agreed with U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, D-Calif., that President Donald Trump’s Twitter account should be suspended.
Gabbard said unequivocally no.
“No. I think freedom of speech is something that is an important, foundational, right in our democracy. I think the things coming from Donald Trump are the things that are inciting a lot of divisiveness in our country though and this is one of the many reasons why I believe that voters vote to defeat Donald Trump,” she said.
“On a serious note, we can’t just cancel, or shut down, or silence those who we disagree with or who hold different views or who say things that we strongly disagree with or abhor. These freedoms and principles enshrined in our constitution are things that we have to take very seriously. I and so many others who wear the uniform of this country are willing to give our lives to protect and defend this freedom of speech, even for those who are saying things that we disagree with,” Gabbard concluded.
While Twitter is a private platform and could shut President Donald Trump’s Twitter account down, they shouldn’t because that would be actively injecting themselves into and interfering with the presidential election. (Though I do believe President Trump would be better off if he stopped tweeting.)
In terms of principles, it is refreshing to hear Gabbard embrace this point of view when so many in the Democratic Party have embraced illiberalism on this issue.
Harris’ national press secretary, Ian Sams, responded to Gabbard’s comment on Twitter:
She literally just said free speech is important. That isn’t a Fox News talking point. That isn’t even a conservative point of view.
It’s a constitutional principle, and if Kamala Harris does not agree, then she is unfit for office.