Four people were dead. The Capitol was in shambles. Several members of his team had resigned. His allies were fast abandoning him.
Naturally, President Donald Trump was livid. About being locked out of his Twitter feed, that is.
Twitter and Facebook locked Trump’s accounts on Wednesday and he had used his social channels to incite a riot of his supporters at the U.S. Capitol. Not long after, the outgoing, increasingly authoritarian Republican president grew increasingly upset about the social media giants robbing him of his online voice, according to two people familiar with the matter.
One of the sources said that since Wednesday, President Trump has specifically complained that he was trying to send a tweet during his Twitter lockout, and that he was furious that he couldn’t. The other person familiar with the situation said the president privately claimed this was another instance of Big Tech silencing conservatives and trying to help cover up the “crime” of the century that occurred during the 2020 presidential election.
The imagined “crime” here is that he decisively lost the election to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden, a victory that Trump, his legal team, and swaths of the GOP have attempted, based on pure lies, for months to overturn.
Trump’s fixation on this underscores, yet again, a president hellbent on obsessing over his own petty grievances and personal desires for power and influence, even as his words and actions helped spur a widely-condemned storming of the Capitol, contributed to the Republican Party’s loss of Senate control, and already led to multiple resignations from his administration. This is all happening against a backdrop of a tanked U.S. economy and a still-raging coronavirus pandemic that Trump has continued to show no interest in helping to mitigate.
Multiple sources with knowledge of the matter and who have been in contact with Trump since Wednesday say he continues to insist he did absolutely nothing wrong, that senior officials and party leaders backing away from him are cowards, and that he also wants people to look into baseless rumors that antifa radicals infiltrated the MAGA protest and riot this week.
White House spokespeople did not provide comment for this story.
Trump has for months used his social media channels to spread absurd conspiracy theories about the election results—and to push his most hardcore supporters into the streets. He tweeted on December 19, “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!” “Get smart Republicans. FIGHT!” he tweeted on that morning.
Even as his supporters were running wild through the Capitol, he pushed out a video on his social feeds falsely claiming that “we had an election that was stolen from us.” In a separate tweet, he wrote, “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots.”
That was one of the messages that Twitter took down—and drove the decision to lock his account. Facebook quickly followed suit, and on Thursday, extended the suspension for at least two weeks.
“Lots of people could’ve and did predict that this would happen,” a source at Facebook told The Daily Beast, referring to the riot at the Capitol. “The possibility of it happening again was high, because this guy [Trump] is fucking nuts.”
After Inciting Capitol Riot, Trump Whines to Advisers: Why Can’t I Tweet?! The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ The Daily Beast.