CNN — Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders denounced former President Donald Trump in strong terms in an interview released Tuesday but said Twitter’s permanent suspension of the former Republican president doesn’t sit right with him.
“Look, you have a former president in Trump, who is a racist, a sexist, a homophobe, a xenophobe, a pathological liar, an authoritarian, somebody who doesn’t believe in the rule of law. This is a bad news guy,” Sanders, who sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, said on the New York Times podcast “The Ezra Klein Show” when asked by Klein if there’s “truth to the critique that liberals have become too censorious.”
“But if you’re asking me, do I feel particularly comfortable that the President, the then-President of the United States could not express his views on Twitter? I don’t feel comfortable about that,” Sanders continued.
Two days after the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol, Twitter permanently suspended Trump from its platform, saying the decision was “due to the risk of further incitement of violence” and that Trump’s last posts “violated the company’s policy against glorification of violence.”
Twitter’s chief financial officer also told CNBC that Trump will not be permitted back on Twitter even if he runs again for office and wins.
Sanders, who previously labeled Trump a “racist,” said the former President was “directly responsible” for the “chaos” on January 6 and argued that Trump would “go down in history as the worst and most dangerous president in history.”
During his interview on the Times podcast, Sanders argued that social media platforms shouldn’t be used to spread hate speech and conspiracy theories, and that the internet shouldn’t be used for “authoritarian purposes and insurrection.”
Sanders said he doesn’t know how to strike a balance, “but it is an issue that we have got to be thinking about.”
He also noted that while Trump was banned, “tomorrow it could be somebody else who has a very different point of view.”
“So I don’t like giving that much power to a handful of high tech people. But the devil is obviously in the details and it’s something we’re going to have to think long and hard on, and that is how you preserve First Amendment rights without moving this country into a big lie mentality and conspiracy theories,” he said.
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