Former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich says Twitter locked his account for about a week after he took to the social media platform to criticized President Biden’s immigration policy.
In a March 3 tweet, Gingrich says, he expressed concern about illegal immigrants crossing the southern U.S. border in record numbers resulting in a new spike of COVID-19 cases.
“If there is a covid surge in Texas the fault will not be Governor [Greg] Abbott’s common sense reforms. The greatest threat of a covid surge comes from Biden’s untested illegal immigrants pouring across the border. We have no way of knowing how many of them are bringing covid with them,” Gingrich says he wrote in the since-deleted tweet.
“I was reacting to a recent story that federal officials have no way of testing people who are picked up by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol – or forcing them to quarantine,” Gingrich wrote Wednesday in a piece for The Washington Times.
A review of Gingrich’s Twitter feed shows it went dark from March 4 to March 9. Twitter did not respond Monday to a request to verify Gingrich’s assertion.
“I am not the only one concerned about this. Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Texas Democrat, has raised his own concerns about immigrants potentially infected with the virus being allowed to come into his district, which is on the U.S.-Mexico border. In addition to worrying about the health of members of his community — including U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officers — Mr. Cuellar said the Biden administration is not even telling local communities where immigrants picked up by Border Patrol are being released,” he wrote.
The Georgia Republican said he was “promptly sent a note explaining that my account was locked for ‘violating our rules against hateful conduct.’ “
The notice also states: “You may not promote violence against, threaten, or harass other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease,” Gingrich wrote.
He said the message also stated he must either delete the tweet or go through an appeals process to have his account unlocked.
However, it’s unclear how he was allowed back on the site.
Gingrich said he at first thought the note was sent in error and pointed out to the social media giant – increasingly accused of censuring conservative voices – that his tweet did not “promote violence against, threaten, or harass” anyone.
“It is simply pointing out the fact that those entering the country illegally are not tested for COVID-19 and could be a health risk,” he said.
“I hope Twitter will stop its aggressive and biased censorship, and return to the spirit and ideals of free speech which allowed it to prosper in the first place,” Gingrich also said.