Former President Trump said Thursday that he’d ban the U.S. government from labeling any domestic speech as “misinformation” or “disinformation” if he returns to the White House.
“I will sign an executive order banning any federal department or agency from colluding with any organization, business or person to censor, limit, categorize or impede the lawful speech of American citizens. I will then ban federal money from being used to label domestic speech as mis- or disinformation,” Trump said in a pre-taped video shared with the New York Post.
The former president also said he’d fire federal bureaucrats who he perceived to have engaged in domestic censorship.
“Directly or indirectly, whether they are the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Health and Human Services, the FBI, the DOJ, no matter who they are,” he said of those he’d seek to fire.
Trump further pledged to direct the Department of Justice to “aggressively prosecute” the alleged censorship.
Among other initiatives, the former president called for the federal government to break ties with any nonprofits and academic programs that are aimed at tacking mis- and disinformation.
“If any U.S. university is discovered to have engaged in censorship activities or election interferences in the past, such as flagging social media content for removal of blacklisting, those universities should lose federal research dollars and federal student loan support for a period of five years, and maybe more,” he said.
The Biden administration has sought to clamp down on the rampant spread of disinformation, particularly regarding the coronavirus pandemic.
“The unvaccinated are responsible for their own choices. But those choices have been fueled by dangerous misinformation on cable TV and social media,” President Biden said last year.
Trump’s comments about censorship come amid the release of the “Twitter Files,” installments which new Twitter CEO Elon Musk says will reveal information about “free speech suppression” on the platform before he bought it.
Since his takeover of the social media app, Musk moved to reinstate Trump’s account, which was banned following the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol.
The former president said in his video that the most recent release confirms a “censorship cartel” and “a sinister group of deep state bureaucrats, Silicon Valley tyrants, left-wing activists and depraved corporate news media” at work to censor Americans’ speech.
Trump announced his 2024 bid to reclaim the presidency last month.