Donald Trump held a press conference (sort of) following his farcical “social media summit” convened at the White House on Thursday.
Earlier, in a tweet, the president promised that the motley crew of right-wingers assembled at 1600 Penn. would discuss “the tremendous dishonesty, bias, discrimination and suppression practiced by certain companies”. He went on to pledge (or maybe “threaten” is better) that “We will not let them get away with it much longer”.
According to the president’s Thursday morning tweets, the media would be allowed at the event, “but for a limited period”, which perhaps explains why his subsequent comments at the gathering were not carried by any major cable networks.
And it’s a good thing, because he said a lot of crazy things.
For instance, he elaborated on what he continues to insist (without evidence) is a vast conspiracy orchestrated by Twitter to “suppress” his follower count. This, frankly, is just patent nonsense:
(If the video does not load, please refresh your page)
“People come up to me and they say ‘Sir, I can’t, I can’t follow you, they make it impossible'”, Trump imagined, before claiming that these make-believe would-be followers are “really good at what they do”.
Trump elaborated, explaining that because his follower count goes “up and then down”, there must be something sinister afoot.
The president also explained how he conceptualizes Twitter. “I call Twitter a typewriter, that’s what I really call Twitter”, he said. “Because it goes onto Facebook automatically and it goes onto Instagram. And it goes onto television. More so Fox than it does CNN”.
“I’m actually a good speller”, he assured the attendees.
With no checks on the veracity of his claims, the president went on to say that Democrats are trying to impose communism on unsuspecting Americans.
Trump talked up his “brains” and then proceeded to define “free speech”. “I don’t think the mainstream media is free speech”, he said, on the way to tacitly declaring that the only kinds of interpretations protected under the Constitution are those that are friendly to the administration. “Free speech is not when you see something good and then you purposely write something bad. That’s very dangerous speech”, the president chided.
Amusingly, Trump criticized the audience, and it wasn’t entirely clear whether it was wholly good-natured. He seemed cognizant of the fact that some of those he invited to the White House on Thursday might not be in full possession of their faculties.
“Some of you were [banned from social media] for absolutely no reason”, Trump said, before hedging. “I mean in all fairness some of you I could almost understand it. I mean some of you guys are out there”, the president admitted, to laughter. “But even you should have a voice. I mean it’s genius, but it’s bad”.
Some of those were weren’t invited sounded off on Trump. Perhaps the highest-profile non-attendee to weigh in was Paul Joseph Watson, Alex Jones’s right-hand man. “Have any of the people who got invited to the social media summit actually been censored by social media?”, he wondered earlier this week.
Never one to miss an opportunity to boast about himself, Trump also regaled the audience with a recap of his Fourth of July spectacle, during which the president accidentally suggested that George Washington’s army had an air force.
“We had on the Mall, just the other day, Fourth of July. A tremendous success, it was pouring”, Trump recalled. “The weather was just — it was beautiful in one way. They learned it was my real hair that day. Because I was drenched”.