UPDATE, with SPLC statement & Tim Pool response With his “White House Social Media Summit” just hours away, President Donald Trump is pulling out the usual roster of Twitter bugaboos, amping up the rhetoric, joking about staying in office beyond his term, and crudely insulting the physical appearance of Elizabeth Warren (and no, he didn’t neglect his stand-by racist nickname for her).
All the while calling himself “so great looking and smart, a true Stable Genius!”
As the Jeffrey Epstein-Alexander Acosta scandal continues apace, Trump passed the morning all but outright begging for distraction, threatening social media companies while also praising them, calling Warren “a very nervous and skinny version of Pocahontas,” and trying hard to make the Alfred E. Neuman nickname stick for Pete Buttigieg.
While the White House has not released a list of the summit invitees, some of the reported or self-identified guests are Qanon conspiracy theorist Bill Mitchell; Ali Alexander, who recently questioned Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris’ ethnicity, reportedly has been invited; Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk; James O’Keefe; right-wing meme creator “Carpe Donktum”; and Tim Pool.
(Editors note: An earlier version of this article said Pool claimed that Seth Rich leaked hacked emails to WikiLeaks; other publications, including Daily Beast, The New Republic and Medium, have also linked Pool to Rich conspiracy claims. But in in an email to Deadline, Pool denied making the WikiLeaks claim. In tweets today, he wrote that “Media now falsely claiming that by saying I didn’t *completely* believe Seth Rich leaked emails to Wikileaks I “helped push” the conspiracy theory.”)
Facebook, Twitter and Google were not invited to the social media summit, nor have they commented publicly on the summit. In a statement, The Internet Association, an industry trade group, said, “Internet companies are not biased against any political ideology, and conservative voices in particular have used social media to great effect. Internet companies depend upon their users’ trust from across the political spectrum to grow and succeed.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which, among other endeavors, monitors online extremism, called today’s White House meeting “a hate summit” of “groups and individuals who have no business at the White House.”
The full statement, posted on the SPLC website, reads:
The Trump administration’s social media summit today is a gathering of groups and individuals who have no business at the White House.
By hosting guests that include conspiracy theorists and extremists, President Trump continues to support and normalize hate speech targeting immigrants, Muslims, Jews, the LGBTQ+ community, and others. Referring to such individuals and the groups they represent — many of whom have had their content removed, restricted or banned from social media platforms — as ‘digital leaders’ only legitimizes the hateful rhetoric they spread online.
For years we’ve watched social media serve as a gateway to radicalization and, far too often, real-life violence. Bringing these groups together is beyond irresponsible; it is essentially conducting a hate summit at the White House.
The summit comes after Trump and the social media influencers he follows have complained that they are consistently marginalized on the major social media sites. Twitter recently announced that disclaimers would be attached to tweets from world leaders that violate the site’s community standards rules. More recently, a New York appellate court upheld an earlier decision that Trump violated the First Amendment by blocking Twitter users.
Here are Trump’s summit-related tweets, and a sampling of responses from news organizations and others: