Former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke says he’s done with Twitter and its “CONSERVATIVE SPEECH CONTROL.”
Clarke, one of President Donald Trump‘s most vocal supporters, threatened to leave the social media platform after it deleted several of his tweets that spread misinformation about the novel coronavirus, and questioned if the outbreak was even real at all.
On Sunday, March 15, the ex-sheriff fired off several tweets attacking local ordinances aimed at slowing the spread of the highly contagious disease. Cities across the United States have put measures in place, ordering bars and restaurants to close amid the crisis. Clarke urged businesses to keep their doors open, however, arguing the precautions were an “orchestrated attempt to destroy CAPITALISM.”
He wrote in a now-deleted tweet: “First sports, then schools and finally commercial businesses. Time to RISE UP and push back. Bars and restaurants should defy the order. Let people decide if they want to go out.”
Adding fuel to the fire, Clarke criticized what he called an “exploitation of a crisis” and encouraged the public to do as they please, despite warnings from top health officials about the spread of the virus.
“GO INTO THE STREETS FOLKS,” he wrote in a follow-up tweet. “Visit bars, restaurants, shopping malls CHURCHES and demand that your schools re-open NOW! If the government doesn’t stop this foolishness … STAY IN THE STREETS.”
Clarke also suggested Democratic mega donor and banker George Soros was behind the global pandemic, adding, “he’s SOMEWHERE involved in this.”
The novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, has affected more than 4,500 people across the U.S. with nearly 90 deaths reported so far. President Trump once touted similar language downplaying the seriousness of the outbreak, but on Friday he declared a national state of emergency amid the growing crisis.
Clarke is just one of many voices on the right who have floated conspiracy theories about the disease. Former Rep. Ron Paul (R) argued on his website that COVID-19 “could be a big hoax” that’s being wildly exaggerated by those looking to profit from “ensuing panic.”
Fox Business host Trish Regan has made comments dismissing the coronavirus as a ploy by the Dems to impeach Trump — again. Regan now is “unlikely to return” to on-air programming after the network put her on hiatus following those comments.
Clarke himself hasn’t taken too kindly to what he sees as censorship from the left. In a quote provided to the Daily Beast, he blasted the punishment by Twitter, which scrubbed his tweets for violating its community rules.
The one-time candidate for a Homeland Security post in Trump’s administration is accused of “promoting self-harm,” yet several of the tweets from his Twitter rant are still visible on the social site. This also isn’t the first time his rhetoric has gotten him into trouble with the platform.
“I notice that everytime I get on a roll excoriating liberals and their policies, complaints about my Tweets start to pop up,” Clarke told The Daily Beast. “I find it interesting that The Daily Beast can actually get a hold of a live spokesperson at Twitter.
He continued: “I nor anybody else can do that as the totalitarian fascist speech suppression bullies at Twitter cleverly have a system that doesn’t allow anyone to reach a human being during its appeal process. All I get are computer generated responses.”