Senator Lindsey Graham’s tweet from last week calling on the Russian people to assassinate President Vladimir Putin did not violate Twitter’s terms of service, the tech company told The Post.
“Is there a Brutus in Russia? Is there a more successful Colonel Stauffenberg in the Russian military? The only way this ends is for somebody in Russia to take this guy out, ” tweeted Grahama Republican of South Carolina ..
“You would be doing your country – and the world – a great service.”
“The only people who can fix this are the Russian people,” Graham added in a second post on Thursday.
“Easy to say, hard to do. Unless you want to live in darkness for the rest of your life, be isolated from the rest of the world in abject poverty, and live in darkness you need to step up to the plate. ”
Some Twitter users demanded that the company remove Graham’s tweet, but it has remained online because the platform generally allows elected officials greater leeway in expressing views than ordinary citizens.
Twitter’s rules allow for a “public-interest exception” in which government figures or elected officials can express themselves freely “given the significant public interest in knowing and being able to discuss their actions and statements.”
Twitter still chose to leave up the post despite its own rules stating that any government figure who tweets a “declarative call to action that could harm a specific individual or group” would have the content censored.
Graham’s initial post was referring to Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, who failed in his attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler with a suitcase bomb during a Nazi council of war on July 21, 1944.
Brutus is a reference to the former ally of Roman emperor Julius Caesar who would go on to betray him.
The senator was slammed by some for the tweet, including by fellow Republican lawmakers who described the message as “unhinged.” Russia’s ambassador to Washington called it “unacceptable and outrageous.”
“While we are all praying for peace & for the people of Ukraine, this is irresponsible, dangerous & unhinged,” another Republican, House Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, wrote in response to Graham’s tweet.
“We need leaders with calm minds & steady wisdom. Not blood thirsty warmongering politicians trying to tweet tough by demanding assassinations. Americans do not want war. “
During Donald Trump’s presidency, Twitter came under intense pressure to remove tweets that were deemed by some to be extreme.
When relations with North Korea were tense and Kim Jong-un was testing missiles, Trump bragged that he had a “much bigger” and “more powerful” nuclear button.
Twitter attached a disclaimer to a Trump tweet during the rioting that ensued after the death of George Floyd in which the then-president said: “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
Twitter and other social media platforms banned Trump altogether after the January 6 riots at the US Capitol.