“The real question for Twitter," Harf said, "is whether they are comfortable with their platform being used by anyone -- including the president -- to promote hateful, violent, dangerous or outright fabrications to millions of people and that’s a really hard question."
Accompanied by Attorney General Bill Barr, Trump signed an order calling for new regulations under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (CDA) that would remove statutory liability protections and cut federal funding for tech companies that engage in censorship and political conduct.
The president's order came just two days after Twitter took the unprecedented step of slapping a "misleading" warning label on two of his tweets about the fraud risks of nationwide mail-in balloting.
The move immediately backfired, with experts disputing that Trump's tweet was in fact misleading, since mail-in balloting has been linked to ongoing fraud. Additionally, Twitter's fact-check itself contained false statements; and Twitter failed to apply the standard of review to other users.
At Thursday's signing ceremony, Trump called the fact-check "egregious," and held up a photo of Twitter executive Yoel Roth, who heads up the site's fact-checking and rules-making operation. Fox News reported on Wednesday that Roth has mocked Trump supporters, called Trump's team "ACTUAL NAZIS," slammed "scary trannies" in New York City, and called GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a "bag of farts." (In a statement, Twitter did not dispute Fox News' reporting, but called the messages by Roth "unfortunate.")
"My executive order calls for new regulations under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to make it so that social media companies that engage in censoring any political conduct will not be able to keep their liability shield," the president said.
Harf said that Trump’s action is “not a legal one, but a political one.”
“It’s his favorite kind of political action. It’s grievance politics,” Harf concluded.
Co-host Lawrence Jones responded to Harf, saying that Twitter’s mission statement is to “share information and content without barriers.”
“This is a new barrier,” Jones said. “They’re trying to be the one between the content creator and the people that they’re trying to reach."
Jones added that Trump's order was not meant to shut down Twitter, but rather bring awareness to a “big issue.”
“Me, as a conservative, I believe that this is a private company. They can do whatever they want to do," Jones said. "But I think it is a bad business practice to violate their mission statement."