Facebook decision on current ban on Trump to be announced

Former US president continues to allege voter fraud in election won by Joe Biden

Donald Trump: false claims of election fraud continue to resonate with millions of his supporters. Photograph: Erin Schaff/New York Times

Donald Trump: false claims of election fraud continue to resonate with millions of his supporters. Photograph: Erin Schaff/New York Times

 

Facebook will announce on Wednesday whether it will continue to ban Donald Trump from its platform, as the former president reiterated unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud on Monday.

In a statement issued by his office in Florida, Mr Trump said: “The Fraudulent Presidential Election of 2020 will be, from this day forth, known as THE BIG LIE!”

His comments apparently triggered a response from senior Republican Liz Cheney, who wrote on Twitter: “The 2020 presidential election was not stolen. Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system.”

The developments came amid renewed speculation that Ms Cheney’s position as the chair of the House Republican Conference – the party caucus for Republicans in the House of Representatives – could be in jeopardy, as she continues to publicly clash with the former president.

The Wyoming politician was one of a handful of Republicans in the House of Representatives to publicly criticise Mr Trump after the January 6th riot on Capitol Hill, which led to his impeachment for a second time.

No confidence

Ms Cheney, the third-ranking Republican in the House and daughter of former vice-president Dick Cheney, faced a vote of no confidence among House Republicans in February after voting to impeach Mr Trump, though she comfortably survived the vote.

However, House majority leader Kevin McCarthy could hold another vote seeking to remove her from the powerful position.  

Tensions between Mr Mc Carthy and Ms Cheney were evident at last week’s Republican Party retreat in Florida. Mr McCarthy said in an interview that he had privately asked Ms Cheney to tone down her remarks about Mr Trump, who remains popular with millions of Republican voters.

Mr Trump has said he will endorse any candidate who runs against Ms Cheney in Wyoming next year.

Despite President Joe Biden decisively winning November’s election, Mr Trump’s false claims of election fraud continue to resonate with millions of his supporters.

A CNN poll released on Friday showed that 70 per cent of Republican voters believe that Mr Biden did not legitimately secure enough votes to win November’s election.

Curbs on democracy

At the same time, several states have passed controversial legislation on election rules that critics say may make it difficult for millions of people to vote. Florida became the latest state to pass new voting rules last week. The state’s Republican-controlled legislature passed several new measures, including restricting the use of drop-boxes for absentee ballots which is a popular way of voting in Florida.

New rules about who can hand out refreshments to those queuing to vote were also passed, with voting rights activists concerned that this could discourage people from voting. It follows similar measures introduced in Georgia in March.

 In a measure of the hold Mr Trump continues to exert over the Republican party, Senator Mitt Romney was booed and heckled at a Utah Republican Party event on Saturday. Mr Romney, a former Republican presidential candidate, was a frequent critic of Mr Trump during his presidency, and voted to convict him of impeachment earlier this year. A resolution to censure Mr Romney over his impeachment vote was narrowly defeated at the convention.

Facebook said its oversight board has made a decision on whether to extend a ban on Mr Trump introduced four months ago and would announce the decision on Wednesday.