President Donald Trump is facing yet another lawsuit that supporters are decrying as frivolous. This time, the commander in chief has been slapped with a challenge by the Knight First Amendment Institute at New Yorkâ€™s Columbia University for blocking Americans on Twitter.
Trump himself was named in the lawsuit, alongside White House press secretary Sean Spicer and White House director of social media Daniel Scavino, which was filed on Tuesday.
â€śPresident Trumpâ€™s Twitter account has become an important source of news and information about the government, and an important public forum for speech by, to, and about the president,â€ť the lawsuit reads.
â€śIn an effort to suppress dissent in this forum, defendants have excluded â€” blocked â€” Twitter users who have criticized the president or his policies. This practice is unconstitutional, and this suit seeks to end it.â€ť
The ultimate goal of the lawsuit is to prevent Trump and his social media aides from blocking Twitter users on either his personal Twitter account, which dates back to 2009 and has 33.7 million followers, the official POTUS account (19.3 million followers), or the official White House account (14.9 million followers).
Seven people blocked from the presidentâ€™s personal page â€“ the frequent use of which Trump described as â€śmodern day presidentialâ€ť in a recent tweet â€“ were named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which provides examples of why those people were blocked.
One person was allegedly blocked for commenting, â€śCongrats and now black lung wonâ€™t be covered under #TrumpCareâ€ť on a Trump tweet congratulating the opening of a Pennsylvania coal mine. The lawsuit goes so far as to detail how many likes and retweets each tweet that resulted in a presidential block received.
In addition to stripping Trump of the option to block, the Knight Institute is seeking the court to declare Trumpâ€™s act of blocking people unconstitutional, to pay the plaintiffsâ€™ attorney fees, and to â€śgrant additional relief as may be just and proper.â€ť