The White House's latest excuse for Trump's silence on the Capitol attack is the worst yet

President Donald Trump’s egging on of rioters before the storming of the US Capitol — and his silence as that mob overran the building — was a deeply injurious moment for the country and a dark mark on his legacy. And it was all social media’s fault…

That last bit is according to Hogan Gidley, a White House spokesman who said this on Fox News Sunday while defending the President’s lack of leadership in those key moments as the rioters took the Capitol:
“On one hand, he should be censored by Big Tech and not be allowed to talk, he also shouldn’t say anything because it’s divisive?” Gidley said. “And then when he doesn’t say anything and can’t say anything because the platforms have removed him, they say, ‘Where’s the President?'”
Huh! So, Trump’s deplatforming by Twitter and Facebook made it impossible for him to address the American public — and the rioters? Interesting!
Especially because the deplatforming came AFTER the January 6 riots. Facebook banned Trump from posting on its site on January 7. Twitter followed suit on January 8.
Trump, in fact, posted several videos during and after the riots — in which he offered a lukewarm urging for the demonstrators to disperse while telling them “we love you, you’re very special.”
But let’s put aside for a minute the fact that Gidley seems very confused about the timing of the deplatforming of his boss.
The President of the United States has the largest bullhorn of any person in the country — and maybe the world. If Trump’s administration reached out to the TV networks at any point on January 6 and said he wanted to address the country, he could have. He didn’t ask.
He could have also given the networks a 15-minute heads up and gone to the White House briefing room and made a statement. That, too, would have received wall-to-wall coverage on every radio and TV station — not to mention every newspaper and all over social media. He didn’t do that.
What Gidley — and, by extension, Trump — is engaging in is a classic bit of scapegoating. Remember that Trump is fundamentally unable to ever blame himself for anything. And so, in the wake of the disastrous and dangerous events of January 6, he and his cronies are trying to foist the blame on the forces of so-called “Big Tech” that deplatformed Trump after he repeatedly failed to issue a forceful condemnation of the rioters.
It’s bunk. All of it.
And what’s worse is that Gidley (and Trump) know it. Even if Trump had been deplatformed by Twitter and Facebook prior to January 6, there would have been a slew of ways that the President of the United States could find to communicate with the American public if he had wanted to do so.
Leadership isn’t about scapegoating and making dumb excuses. It’s about showing the public the right way to act and to treat each other — especially in moments like on January 6 when so many of our fellow Americans were behaving so badly. But Gidley’s excuses are in keeping with the fundamental failure of Trump’s administration: An utter and total abdication of the moral leadership required of a president.

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