Holly O’Reilly tweeted a GIF at the end of May to President Trump on his @realDonaldTrump account. The image displayed an awkward-looking moment between the president and Pope Francis with the caption, “This is pretty much how the whole world sees you.”
Almost immediately, she was blocked from his account.
Joe Papp had a similar experience about a week later, when he tweeted a question to Trump. “Why didn’t you attend your #PittsburghNotParis rally in DC, Sir?” he asked, adding “#fakeleader.” Trump blocked him too.
In response, Papp tweeted an image of his blocking with the message “a @POTUS so mentally weak & intolerant of dissent he blocks U.S. citizens critical of his politics from even reading his latest pronouncements.”
Once blocked, neither O’Reilly nor Papp could view Trump’s tweets or comment in the threads created by them.
Normally, a user blocking another on Twitter is no big deal. It happens every day. Some might consider it petty but nobody tries to make a lofty constitutional issue out of it.
But Trump is the president. And just Tuesday, #White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the Trump’s tweets are “considered official statements by the president of the United States.” And since his account, like others, provides the opportunity for a response, some think that would make it a kind of public forum.