Culture

White House begs Supreme Court to let Donald Trump block trolls

Like all bullies, the President can dish it but is terrible at taking it.

Pool/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Donald Trump has had it with critics and trolls on Twitter. Unlike previous Presidents, Trump is abnormally active on the service, and constantly getting in trouble for his lunatic-fringe-flavored rants, blatant lies, and factually flexible attacks on anyone and anything he dislikes. But, like most bullies, while Trump can dish it, he can't take it. Despite having arguably more pressing business to attend to — like the COVID-19 pandemic and his administrations grossly inept handling of it — the White House has sent an official request to the Supreme Court to reverse a ruling that barred Trump from blocking his haters on Twitter.

Filed by the acting solicitor general, Jeffrey B. Wall, the request seeks to have the ruling of the lawsuit filed by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University in 2017 overturned. The gist of the ruling is that in blocking users, the President would be infringing on their First Amendment rights. You'd think the commander-in-chief would be a more vocal defender of the Constitution's amendments, but as he's repeatedly demonstrated, the law is no match for the paper-thinness of his hide.

Juvenile lamenting — In the official statement filed to the Supreme Court, Wall writes an overwrought explanation as to why Trump reserves the right, in his opinion, to block critics. There are two excerpts in particular from the statement that read comically when you consider the fact that Trump often feigns indifference to criticism, mockery, and insults. In the statement, though, it sounds like the very active Twitter user is particularly disturbed by trolls.

Wall notes, "President Trump's ability to use the features of his personal Twitter account, including the blocking function, are independent of his presidential office. Blocking third-party accounts from interacting with the @realDonaldTrump account is a purely personal action that does not involve any 'right or privilege created by the State.'"

After his presidency is over, Wall says Trump will have the ability to block the same accounts. So, the argument goes, the nature of the decision and its effect is still within the personal realm. He goes on to say: "The president's decision to block accounts belonging to the individual respondents from his personal property is thus well within 'the ambit of the official personal pursuits' and is therefore 'plainly excluded' from being considered state action."

What happens now? — The 2017 First Amendment case has clearly been on Trump's mind once you read Wall's entire complaint. And the likelihood of the ruling being reversed is very slim. If the Supreme Court ends up even listening to the request, it will announce its decision sometime in fall, probably around October, according to CNBC.

Given that government officials are not allowed to prevent people from engaging with them in public communication forums like Twitter, Trump will most likely have to get used to trolls, critics, and other chaos agents online. It sure is tough being rich, powerful, and obsessed with what strangers on the internet think of you. Spare some thoughts and prayers, yeah? Alternatively, perhaps a note to The White House suggesting retirement? Then Trump can block whomever he pleases.