National Harbor, MD – Donald Trump, Jr. was joined on stage at CPAC on Friday morning by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) to discuss the bias against conservative voices in “Big Tech.”
The conversation, very excited at times, focused mainly on the censorship of conservative voices and thoughts expressed on various social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Don Jr. cited several occasions in which he had been affected by censorship and silencing after expressing an opinion that clashed with liberal media.
The eldest son of the president said that after he took to Twitter to express doubt in actor Jussie Smollett’s claim that he was a victim of a hate crime, his post was flagged for spreading misinformation. He was later told by Twitter that his post was mistakenly flagged and did not violate their terms but when he asked for them to discuss the matter publicly, he got “crickets.”
Don Jr., Hawley, and McCarthy all agreed that more censorship in big tech was not the way forward. “We need more speech, not less,” McCarthy said to applause from the packed main room. He also praised Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for supporting more freedom of expression in the public square, despite criticism from the left. “He has said we need free speech. And watch what the liberals are doing and how they’re going after him.”
McCarthy’s praise of Zuckerberg was not echoed by Don Jr. who said that while Zuckerberg might have adopted a pro-free speech stance, his employees were another story.
“The inmates are actually running the asylum,” he said. “Even if he agrees the 25,000 or so people beneath him might not.”
Continuing to skewer big tech’s behavior toward conservatives, Don Jr. was particularly critical of censorship that occurred with no explanation and no consistency. “There’s zero transparency there,” he said, noting that posts are often hidden or “shadowbanned,” with no notification to the poster. While he and his father have millions of followers on Twitter and Instagram, Don Jr. said, his major concern was for average conservative voices on social media that are silenced and hidden without a huge public profile to fight back.
Hawley agreed with the younger Trump’s concerns and also slammed big tech for their relationship with government and the special considerations they receive. He said in years with a Republican in the White House, big tech lobbies for more censorship to control the political narrative in the public square. “For the left, it’s all about this partnership: Big government and big tech.”
All three men strongly criticized liberal media outlets for their compliance with big tech censorship and noted that Twitter and Facebook are often a first stop for people seeking news. Don Jr. encouraged the crowd to be mindful of potential partisan citizenship and Hawley encouraged parents to limit the amount of time children interact with social media.