A federal judge suggested Thursday that President Trump not block Twitter users, but mute them instead, The Associated Press reported. The judge's fix apparently came as she evaluated whether the president blocking users he doesn't like infringes on those users' First Amendment rights.
U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald discussed the issue with Trump's lawyer Michael Baer during a Thursday hearing in Manhattan federal court, CNBC reports, after the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University filed a suit alongside seven people whom Trump has blocked on Twitter.
The users alleged that their constitutional rights were violated when Trump blocked them, preventing them from accessing public form of communication with an elected official, while Baer defended Trump's prerogative to decide not to listen to some users on his personal Twitter account.
Buchwald likened Twitter to a public town hall, where government officials can't silence their constituents just because they disagree, though they can take their microphone away. She suggested that muting users so that they could still see Trump's Twitter feed — which he operates "in an official capacity" — would allow them to continue to see his announcements of "policy or policy proposals," while fulfilling Trump's apparent desire to not hear their criticism.
Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer once confirmed that Trump's tweets should be considered "official statements" from the president, though Baer argued Thursday that the president's tweets don't qualify as "state action."
Buchwald said that if both parties could not reach a settlement soon, she would rule on the case. Summer Meza
The crack detectives at Twitter have already determined which employee was responsible for making President Trump's account disappear on Thursday evening: Someone in the customer support department working his or her last day at the company.
For 11 minutes, much to the shock/confusion/sheer joy of many, Trump's Twitter page did not exist. The page soon reappeared, complete with a new, misspelled tweet, and Twitter Government announced that the account was "inadvertently deactivated due to human error by a Twitter employee."
Later, Twitter Government followed up with some new information: "Through our investigation, we have learned that this was done by a Twitter customer support employee who did this on the employee's last day. We are conducting a full internal review." That's one way to make sure your former coworkers — and the entire Twittersphere — never forget you. Catherine Garcia