Former President Donald Trump gave a long, rally like speech to the North Carolina Republican Party on Saturday, and while much of it played out like an extended version of his greatest hits, he also addressed Facebook’s decision to suspend his account for another two years before their decision is reassessed.
“They say they may allow me back in two years. I’m not too interested in that,” Trump said. “They may allow me back in two years. We got to stop that. We can’t let it happen. So unfair. They are shutting down an entire group of people. Not just me. They are shutting down the voice of a much more powerful and a much larger group.”
Trump also went after Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, suggesting that Zuckerberg’s support of get out the vote efforts were somehow a crime.
Facebook Says Donald Trump Will Remain Suspended Until At Least January 2023
“You know, he used to come to the White House,” Trump said. “He’d call, ‘Could I have dinner with you sir?’ Sure. ‘Could I bring my wife?’ Oh absolutely. He actually walked into the office one day in front of numerous people. ‘Congratulations, sir.’ Why? ‘You’re number one on Facebook. …We had a nice dinner. The day I was out he became rather, well’ I guess it is human nature. But we can’t let our country be run by that kind of human nature, can we? Zuckerberg, another beauty.”
Facebook announced on Friday that it was suspending Trump’s account at least through January, 2023, when their decision will be reassessed. Although Trump continues to have tremendous sway in the Republican party — on display at the Saturday night dinner — his suspension from major tech platforms has diminished his daily voice to the broader public. A recent effort by his office to establish a blog by the former president was scuttled after less than a month, while he spokesman said that other plans are in the works.
In a sharp contrast to how Trump was treated when he was in office, major news networks gave the speech limited coverage as it was taking place. CNN and MSNBC did reports on the address, which lasted about 90 minutes, but Fox News stayed with regular programming. Their was carriage on C-SPAN and Newsmax along with other platforms on the right.
The speech itself was full of distortions and falsehoods, as well as his repeating of “the big lie” that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him. He called the election “by far the most corrupt election in the history of our country.” Trump’s efforts to advance the unfounded election claims are at the heart of tech platforms’ decision to suspend his accounts following the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Trump seemed to be placing his hopes on an election audit in Arizona and potentially in other states as exposing election fraud, but those counts of the ballots are being carried out by his own supporters with serious questions of their veracity. Other parts of the speech were aimed at Joe Biden, Dr. Anthony Fauci and prosecutors in New York who are investigating his businesses.
“Remember, I am not the one trying to undermine American democracy,” Trump told the crowd. “I’m the one that’s trying to save it. Please remember that.” Reporters noted that while the crowd showered him with cheers at a number of moments, they gave less applause as he talked of the progress on the vaccine.
The major piece of news from the speech was the announcement by Trump’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, now a Fox News contributor, that she would not be running for Senate in North Carolina. Instead, Trump endorsed Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC).
Trump has not said whether he will run in 2024, even though he is thinking about it. C-SPAN carried the speech under their “2024” banner.