Trump, Twitter and the First Amendment – The New York Times

Posted: June 1, 2020 at 3:39 am

To the Editor:

Re Trump Claims Hes Protecting Free Speech by Reining In Tech Giants (news article, May 29):

It shouldnt surprise anyone that Donald Trump claims hes being denied his right to speak when Twitter marks his lies with a fact-check asterisk. He has no clue that the First Amendments prohibition on interfering with ones speech rights applies only to government.

But his executive order purporting to strip the company of liability protection, a pathetic (and unlawful) attempt to retaliate, is itself government action to chill and limit speech. Maybe he should read the First Amendment its only 45 words long.

Richard YospinNewton, Mass.

To the Editor:

Re What Would Happen if Twitter Banned Trump?, by Charlie Warzel (Opinion,, May 27):

Twitter is more than a little late to the party with its Get the Facts link appended to President Trumps latest lies about mail-in voting. It seems to me that short of barring Mr. Trump from Twitter, the least that Twitter could do would be to append a Get the Facts link to every one of his tweets that contain outright lies, baseless accusations, support for racist and white supremacist beliefs, bullying based on peoples appearance, and implicit or outright threats of violence. In other words, pretty much everything that he tweets.

Thom ThackerIrvington, N.Y.

To the Editor:

In Im Not Mrs. America. Thats the Point (Op-Ed,, May 21), Im afraid that Cate Blanchett misses the point. She posits a deep divide between feminists and the followers of Phyllis Schlafly, the character she plays, and calls that divide the difference between staying at home and making your way in the world, or between the demands of faith and the indulgence of the self.

In fact, there are homemakers, worldly women and women of faith on both sides of an ideological and political divide that is all too real.

At the same time, Ms. Blanchett describes the divide as an illusion and a simplified antagonism. In truth, the divide between feminists and anti-feminists is real and critical. Its the difference between those of us who consider women to be full human beings deserving of equal rights, dignity and the freedom to control our own bodies, and those who believe that women should be submissive to men, taken care of by men and subject to male authority.

Ms. Blanchetts faith in art to bridge her misconstrued divide trivializes the urgent threats from todays Schlafly clones, who would deny women access to birth control, reproductive autonomy, child care and a host of other rights that are hardly illusory.

Letty Cottin PogrebinStockbridge, Mass.The writer is a founding editor of Ms. magazine and the author of several books about womens issues.

Larry Kramer Gave Hope to Those With AIDS

To the Editor:

Re Larry Kramer, 1935-2020: An Activist Who Gave People With AIDS a Voice. A Loud Voice (front page, May 28):

Larry Kramer gave AIDS patients something intangible, but vitally important. He gave them hope.

My brother Alan first told me about Larry and the Gay Mens Health Crisis in the early 1980s, when Alan was first diagnosed. Alan had hope that people like Larry could make enough noise, fast-track medicine and save lives, including my brothers. The only thing that Larry couldnt give many of them, including Alan, was enough time.

My brother died on April 1, 1990, in San Francisco. While time was not on Alans side, Larry Kramer did make a difference, and countless people are alive today because of him.

Tom GoodmanNew York

To the Editor:

Where Did All the New Yorkers Go? Follow the Mail (news article, May 19):

A big thank you goes out to my neighbors on the Upper West Side who decided to flee the city. I stayed and fortunately am not feeling lonely and isolated. I did not really need your tracking data to tell me my building was nearly empty, but confirmation is nice.

Thank you, fellow residents, for making me feel safer from contracting the virus, with fewer people to come in contact with: no crowded elevators in the building or traffic in the lobby, and no competition in the laundry room. And fewer people in the park, on the streets and at the supermarket.

Having been recently widowed, and healthy but in the at-risk age group, I have learned to live alone and cope as best I can with the pandemic. Some days the only other human I interact with in person is the doorman, who greets me in the morning with my newspaper. The wonderful staff of my building are here, and I thank them for their presence, as well as the other essential workers who keep this city running.

I count my blessings daily.

Betty WelkerNew York

To the Editor:

Re With Classes or Without Them, Colleges Want to Play Football (front page, May 28):

From Horse Feathers in 1932, starring the Marx Brothers:

Groucho (as Quincy Adams Wagstaff, a new college president): Have we got a stadium?

Faculty: Yes.

Groucho: Have we got a college?

Faculty: Yes.

Groucho: Well, we cant support both. Tomorrow we start tearing down the college.

Mark FeldmanKirkwood, Mo.

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Trump, Twitter and the First Amendment - The New York Times

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