'The Squad' Responds to Twitter Policy Banning Posts Wishing for Trump's Death: 'Excuse Me?'

Four first term progressive Democrats, known as "the Squad," have responded to a Twitter policy banning posts that wish President Donald Trump death or bodily harm following his COVID diagnosis.

In the early hours of Friday morning, Trump chose to announce that he had tested positive for the coronavirus on the social media platform. The post quickly became his most-liked tweet ever.

"Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately," the president wrote. "We will get through this TOGETHER!"

Twitter quickly moved to issue a warning as users began flooding the platform with posts supporting the president's death. "Tweets that wish or hope for death, serious bodily harm or fatal disease against *anyone* are not allowed and will need to be removed," the platform wrote.

Progressive Congresswomen Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan—who are often targeted by the far-right online community—appeared frustrated that the site hadn't moved earlier to censor death threats levied against them.

"So... you mean to tell us you could've done this the whole time?" Ocasio-Cortez wrote in response.

"Seriously though, this is messed up. The death threats towards us should have been taking [sic] more seriously by" Twitter," Tlaib tweeted.

Omar shared a GIF of from the sitcom Parks and Recreation with the subtitle underneath reading, "Excuse me?"

"Please DM me," Pressley wrote.

So... you mean to tell us you could‘ve done this the whole time? https://t.co/7OmgEYjWnI

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) October 3, 2020

The policy shared by Twitter existed before Trump caught COVID. The platform's abusive behavior policy states: "We do not tolerate content that wishes, hopes or expresses a desire for death, serious bodily harm or fatal disease against an individual or group of people."

If a user violates the policy, the platform could ask them to remove the post before they are permitted to share another one. Subsequent violations will prolong "read-only periods" and could "eventually result in permanent suspension," according to the rules.

Twitter often fails to remove tweets that are banned under their rules due to the sheer quantity of user posts, and the Squad are frequent victims of aggressive social media attacks.

Last August, Omar justified her need for tight security by posting a death threat from an unnamed person. "I hate that we live in a world where you have to be protected from fellow humans. I hated it as a child living through war and I hate it now," she wrote. "But until deranged people like this stop threatening my life and the lives of others, I have to accept the reality of having security."

The Minnesota congresswoman's post came three months after Ocasio-Cortez described being flooded with death threats. "I've had mornings where I wake up & the 1st thing I do w/ my coffee is review photos of the men (it's always men) who want to kill me," the Democrat tweeted in May 2019.

"I don't even get to see all of them. Just the ones that have been flagged as particularly troubling."

Newsweek reached out to Twitter for comment.

The Squad
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York pauses while speaking as Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts attend a press conference on Capitol Hill on July 15, 2019. Alex Wroblewski/Getty