Donald Trump returns to social media with Gab post calling impeachment a ‘public relations stunt’

Landing on Gab as the apparent successor to Twitter comes despite reports Parler in 2020 offered Mr Trump 40 per cent of the company if he posted exclusively to the platform

Justin Vallejo
New York
Saturday 06 February 2021 11:49
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Donald Trump dusted off his old Gab account for a social media comeback in the wake of his purge by Silicon Valley tech giants.

In his first post to the site since 8 January, Mr Trump uploaded his lawyer’s response to demands he testifies at his second impeachment hearing next week.

Mr Trump had resorted to releasing statements from the Office of the Former President after he and his campaign presence was scrubbed from the internet by Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, Snapchat, Twitch, Shopify, Stripe, and YouTube, among others.

While his return to social media was just a repost of his lawyers’ letter, the phrasing carried the ex-president’s characteristic defiance.

“We are in receipt of your latest public relations stunt,” attorneys David Schoen and Bruce Castor Jr wrote.

"Your letter only confirms what is known to everyone: you cannot prove your allegations against the 45th President of the United States, who is now a private citizen. The use of our Constitution to bring a purported impeachment proceeding is much too serious to try to play these games."

Trump’s attorneys were responding to requests from Congressman Jamie Raskin that the ex-president appear before or during the trial, subject to cross-examination, pointing to the testimonies of former presidents Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton while in office.

"If you decline this invitation, we reserve any and all rights, including the right to establish at trial that your refusal to testify supports a strong adverse inference regarding your actions (and inaction)" on 6 January, the date of the riots inside the halls of Congress.

While Mr Trump’s response was first shared by his adviser Jason Miller, the full copy was posted to Gab late on Thursday.

Landing on Gab as the apparent successor to Twitter as his go-to social media megaphone comes despite reports that Parler offered Mr Trump 40 per cent of the company if he posted exclusively to the platform.

BuzzFeed News reported that the Trump Organization and Parler negotiated the deal in 2020, but that the White House counsel’s office ended the deal with a ruling it would violate ethics rules.

“The president was never part of the discussions,” Mr Parscale told BuzzFeed News. “The discussions were never that substantive. And this was just one of many things the campaign was looking into to deal with the cancel culture of Silicon Valley."

Silicon Valley effectively cancelled Mr Trump after the riot at the Capitol on 6 January, for which he now faces the article of impeachment on the charge of “incitement of insurrection”.

In justifying the ban from Mr Trump’s favourite platform, Twitter said his posts violated its glorification of violence policy.

"After close review of recent tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them – specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter – we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” the statement said.

"In the context of horrific events this week, we made it clear on Wednesday that additional violations of the Twitter rules would potentially result in this very course of action.”

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