Twitter has said it has made a permanent decision to close his account, but Kari Paul reports for us that Facebook is yet to decide whether to continue hosting Donald Trump:
Facebook is expected to announce imminently whether it will allow Donald Trump to return to the platform after banning him more than a month ago.
The decision will be the most consequential yet made by Facebook’s Oversight Board, a group of 20 members who range from humanitarian activists and religious experts to lawyers and a former prime minister. The board, which launched in late 2020, is meant to function as an independent arm of the social platform, making binding decisions on a selection of its thorniest content moderation issues.
Trump was removed on 7 January following his encouragement of an insurrection of the US Capitol the day prior, but he had for years used his Facebook account to share misinformation and violent rhetoric with his millions of followers. Hundreds of civil rights advocates submitted comments in advance of the decision saying that reinstating Trump’s account would again allow those problems to flourish on the site.
“The Board must acknowledge that Trump’s social media presence has made not just Facebook users but the entire world less safe,” wrote Change the Terms, a coalition of more than 60 human rights groups. “It must act in defense of the people we represent and not reverse Facebook’s decision on a process foul.”
Another prominent voice in favor of a permanent Trump ban is Facebook’s former security chief Alex Stamos, who signed a letter along with a number of other prominent voices urging against Trump’s return.
“The eventual deplatforming of Trump’s accounts helped defuse a dangerous and antidemocratic situation,” said the letter sent by a group of researchers and lawyers including Stamos. “Trump’s actions justified the step of indefinitely deplatforming him.”
Read more of Kari Paul’s report here: Debate rages as Facebook prepares to say whether Trump can return
Trump backed by over half Republicans to run again for 2024 – poll
If the 2024 Republican presidential primary was held today, Donald Trump would win by a street. That was the message from a Politico-Morning Consult poll released on Tuesday, three days after Trump’s acquittal in his second impeachment trial, on a charge of inciting the insurrection at the US Capitol on 6 January.
Among Republican voters, 59% said they wanted Trump to play a prominent role in their party, up a whopping 18 points from the last such poll, taken in the aftermath of the Capitol riot. A slightly lower number, 54%, said they would back Trump in the primary.
Name recognition is a powerful force so far out from the contest concerned. Donald Trump Jr shared third place, with 6%, with former South Carolina governor and United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley. Haley has tried to distance herself from Trump since the Capitol riot.
“We need to acknowledge he let us down,” Haley told Politico shortly after the attack. “He went down a path he shouldn’t have, and we shouldn’t have followed him, and we shouldn’t have listened to him. And we can’t let that ever happen again.”
She also said Trump was “not going to run for federal office again”. Trump has not committed either way. After his acquittal, he told supporters: “Soon we will emerge with a vision for a bright, radiant and limitless American future.”
Democrats urge Biden to fire USPS chief who decimated mail service
Even in a drama-filled election unlike any other, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and his assault on the postal service stood out.
After Trump appointed the businessman to run the agency, DeJoy largely failed in his mission to help the former president discourage voters from casting ballots by mail, but evidence suggests his policies and the pandemic have decimated the postal service. Now many, including Democratic lawmakers, are calling on Biden to act swiftly to remove him and the Trump-majority UnitedStates Postal Service board of governors.
Though Biden doesn’t have the authority to remove DeJoy himself, he could immediately appoint a Democratic majority-board that could fire the postmaster general, but the administration has yet to act. That’s left many asking “Why?”
“We think he can move quickly and should move quickly and should be bold – there’s no debate about anyone being confirmed by the Senate, so let’s make it strong and powerful,” said Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union.
But it might take some time for that to happen. Representative Gerry Connolly, chair of the subcommittee on government operations, which oversees the postal service, labeled DeJoy a “huge problem” and is calling on Biden to fire the entire board, but told the Guardian he doesn’t think it’s “a fair question” to ask why the president hasn’t acted during his first three weeks in office.
“Give him a little bit of time. We’re dealing with huge problems – a pandemic, huge economic challenges, he’s got to make cabinet appointments, he’s got his environmental agenda,” Connolly added. “But this needs to be on the priority list and I believe it will be.”
Representative Tim Ryan, who in January sent a letter to Biden calling on him to “clean house,” stressed that late bill payments, late checks, and delayed medication deliveries cause problems for many Americans and underscored the urgency. Though DeJoy has refused to release 2021 on time delivery data, December numbers made public in lawsuits shows that only about 40% of first class mail was arriving on time – down from about 92% the year before.
Read more of Tom Perkins’ report here: Democrats urge Biden to fire USPS chief Trump ally who decimated mail service
Rocket attack on US airbase in Iraq kills civilian contractor
A volley of approximately 14 rockets was launched at the base near the main city of Erbil’s airport late on Monday, which witnesses told local television appeared to come from the south.
Three landed inside the base while others fell on residential areas nearby, killing one person identified by a US military spokesperson as a foreign national, but not a US citizen, and injuring one US service member.
It was the most deadly attack in almost a year to hit US-led coalition forces deployed to fight Islamic State in Iraq, where tensions between the US, its Iraqi and Kurdish allies on one side and Iran-aligned militias on the other soared during Donald Trump’s presidency.
Former US president Donald Trump had said the death of US civilians would be a red line and provoke US escalation in Iraq, making Monday’s attack an early challenge for the Biden administration, which is seeking to revive the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers Trump scrapped in 2018.
“We are outraged by today’s rocket attack,” the secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said in a statement on Monday evening, vowing to “hold accountable those responsible”.
Read more of Bethan McKernan’s report here: Rocket attack on US airbase in Iraq kills civilian contractor