On Tuesday morning, the self-described “largest progressive group of veterans in America,” VoteVets, let the world know that it had been blocked by the president of the United States.
— VoteVets (@votevets) June 13, 2017
This means that not only can Donald Trump no longer see VoteVets’ tweets, but VoteVets is also blocked from seeing the president’s tweets.
Will Fischer, VoteVets’ director of government relations, told ThinkProgress he was the one at the helm of the group’s Twitter account Tuesday morning, which was replying to the president’s morning commentary about the Muslim ban.
Well, as predicted, the 9th Circuit did it again – Ruled against the TRAVEL BAN at such a dangerous time in the history of our country. S.C.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 13, 2017
Fischer began a tweetstorm on the VoteVets account, calling the president “a threat to our national security” because of his climate denial, his cozying up to dictators, and his violation of the Emoluments Clause.
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According to Fischer, “the tweet that broke the snowflake’s back” was in response to another of Trump’s tweets from Tuesday morning that said: “The Fake News Media has never been so wrong or so dirty. Purposely incorrect stories and phony sources to meet their agenda of hate. Sad!”
You're describing your road to the White House to a T, @realDonaldTrump. Well, this and colluding with an adversary of the United States.
— VoteVets (@votevets) June 13, 2017
This will be the last tweet Trump will ever see from VoteVets, unless he unblocks them.
What is it like to get blocked by the president of the United States? Fischer said his first thought was: “Who else is a member of this club?”
And with White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s confirmation that Trump’s tweets are “official statements from the president of the United States,” the fact that increasing numbers of Americans are actually prevented from seeing his tweets after he blocks them becomes a more serious — and potentially constitutional — issue.
Fischer said he sees it as “being again part of Trump’s quest to create an alternate universe where every thought he has is correct, and there is no voice of dissent… which is also a dystopia for the rest of us.”
He noted past examples of Trump shying away from hearing public dissent. For instance, the president reportedly threatened to cancel a visit to the United Kingdom if protests were expected.
“We’ve seen this,” Fischer said, “and now he’s blocking out the voice of veterans.”
This is the first political figure that Fischer can think of that has blocked VoteVets on social media.
“It’s never happened when I’ve been there,” he said. “I think most people have better things to do than block people on Twitter.”
VoteVets has heard nothing back from the White House about Trump’s decision to block them, and the White House has did not respond to ThinkProgress’ inquiry (nor to that of multiple other outlets’).
The group has not been shy about criticizing the commander-in-chief. VoteVets has argued that Trump is trying to privatize the VA, called for an impeachment inquiry for Trump, and suggested in an ad that aired during Fox and Friends that, if Trump wants to be a “legitimate president, he should “act like one.”
VoteVets was also one of the “leading groups” criticizing Trump for his political theater with veterans fundraising, according to Fischer.
Last year during the presidential campaign, Trump boycotted a primary debate hosted by Megyn Kelly in favor of a stunt fundraising event “for the veterans.” After several months it became clear that the stated recipients had received just a “fraction of the promised money,” according to the Wall Street Journal. After more public and media outcry, Trump began to deliver some of the money promised to some of the groups.
VoteVets itself was never a potential recipient for the money Trump ended up giving to veteran groups, as far as the organization was aware.
Just two months later, Trump tried to smear the family of a fallen serviceman after his father, Khizr Khan, spoken forcefully about sacrifice at the Democratic National Convention. This was a year after Trump opened his campaign with an incendiary comment that Sen. John McCain was “not a war hero” because he was captured.
Fischer said that VoteVets works with “a number of the other VSOs [Veterans Service Organizations] in the country” and he looks forward to telling them what happened with the president on Twitter.
So far, Fischer said VoteVets has heard nothing but positive reactions from its members, and has received a flood of support on social media in the form of additional followers and comments.
In fact, many members, Fischer said, are tweeting at Trump asking “why are you blocking vets?” and speaking out in support of he group — which comes in handy considering the group itself can no longer communicate with the president on his favorite medium.