Can’t they take a joke?
Rep. Adam Schiff and the Democratic National Committee lobbied to have a parody image of then-presidential nominee Joe Biden removed from Twitter during the 2020 campaign after it was retweeted by former President Donald Trump, the latest version of internal company records authorized by new owner Elon Musk revealed on Friday.
A senior Twitter executive declined the requests because the digital animation – which showed Biden, now 80, with his tongue sticking out of his mouth — did not create a “link of harm to anyone involved.”
“It’s pretty clear [an] Edited GIF created with humorous intent,” Yoel Roth, then head of corporate trust and safety, wrote in an April 27, 2020 email.
“Any reasonable observer could identify that it is tampered with.”
But a staffer for Schiff (D-Calif.) — the powerful head of the House Intelligence Committee at the time — didn’t give up, saying in an email the next day that “there is a slippery slope problem here,” a screenshot shown.
“Twitter Files” co-author Matt Taibbi wrote that Schiff staff “wrote to Twitter quite often, asking that the tweets be taken down” and sarcastically called the request in question a “significant use of taxpayer resources. “.
“The real problem was [then-President] Donald Trump retweeted Biden’s photo,” Taibbi added.
Trump, 76, announced in November that he would seek to win back the White House in 2024 but could face fierce competition from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Schiff’s office “also repeatedly complained about ‘QAnon-related activity’ often tweeting about other topics,” Taibbi wrote.
Although Twitter has yet to begin suspending users for sharing the QAnon conspiracy theory, the company has “de-amplified” their accounts to prevent their tweets from spreading, according to an Oct. 28, 2020 email.
Schiff’s office, however, questioned whether the move — which he said “we very much appreciate” — “could inadvertently prevent law enforcement from scanning Twitter for potential threats” against staff members. of the Intelligence Committee, according to an excerpt from an undated email published by Taibbi. .
Taibbi revealed last week that Schiff’s office was seeking to suspend reporter Paul Sperry, a Post columnist, from Twitter for allegedly “repeatedly promoting false QAnon conspiracies and harassing” someone whose name was hidden.
Sperry told the Post that he had “never promoted ‘QAnon conspiracies.’ Ever. Not on Twitter. Not anywhere” and accused Schiff of “libelous libel.”
Sperry later tweeted that he was “exploring all legal options”, including a possible defamation suit against Schiff.
Earlier this week, newly elected House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) promised to keep his promise to ensure that Schiff, who was the House’s senior manager during the first impeachment trial of Trump, launches the intelligence committee.
McCarthy also targeted Reps. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) as reward for removing Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Paul Gosar (R-Arizona) from their seats. to the committee in 2021.
Requests for comment from Schiff’s office and the DNC were not immediately returned.