Twitter Suspends GOP Senator's Account Over What's in His Profile Picture
This picture was worth way more than 1,000 words — especially for what it says about the way Twitter is apparently still conducting business.
Sen. Steve Daines, the Montana Republican and an outspoken critic of President Joe Biden, had his Twitter account suspended Monday over a profile picture that offended someone’s sensibilities.
Even though it’s a picture any hunter would be proud of.
In an email to The Western Journal on Tuesday, Daines’ deputy press secretary, Blake Kernen, wrote that the senator was informed Monday night that “his Twitter account was locked because his profile picture violated their rules against ‘graphic violence.’ The picture is of him and his wife Cindy with a Montana antelope.
“Our team has reached out to Twitter to get this resolved and they let us know that until he removes his picture, he will be locked out. The Senator believes it is preposterous that a picture of him and his wife hunting — an activity that is engrained in the Montana way of life — would be against Twitter rules. The Senator will not remove the profile picture.
“The picture, which was taken in October 2022 has also been used on Facebook and Instagram and has been the Senator’s profile picture on twitter for over a month.”
The email included a statement from Daines:
“My wife is a great shot,” Daines said. “What can I say?”
Daines’ spokeswoman Rachel Dumke published her own Twitter post about the situation (with the ostensibly offensive photo being hidden behind a Twitter “potentially sensitive content” curtain).
.@SteveDaines’ twitter account was locked last night for displaying “graphic violence” in his profile picture.
Because going hunting with your wife is apparently against @Twitter rules now.
What a joke. pic.twitter.com/gy4XIu3cv0
— Rachel Dumke (@RachelDumke9) February 7, 2023
“Because going hunting with your wife is apparently against @Twitter rules now,” she wrote. “What a joke.”
Conservatives might have thought they were past this kind of juvenile, hall-monitor behavior from Twitter after it came under the ownership of the mega-billionaire and self-described “free-speech absolutist” Elon Musk.
It looked like the regime, which had enforced blatant anti-conservative bias through suspensions, shadow-banning politically inconvenient content and the like, had been forced to give way to an actual free market of ideas.
And now an outspoken conservative Republican is being suspended for a picture so innocuous? And one that had been up for a month?
What’s next, fisherman are going to be kicked off for images of prize catches?
Plenty of conservatives had plenty to say on Twitter under the tag #FreeSteveDaines.
And many of them included a pic of the apparently verboten image.
“If you don’t like hunting, fine, don’t go. But don’t censor others who disagree,” Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas wrote.
Ridiculous. My friend @SteveDaines is in @Twitter jail for posting this pic w/ his wife Cindy.
If you don’t like hunting, fine, don’t go. But don’t censor others who disagree.
And I’m pretty sure this is a formal job responsibility for a senator from Montana!#FreeSteveDaines pic.twitter.com/t6VdYNYe5u
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) February 7, 2023
“Stop censoring our Montana way of life!” wrote Rep. Ryan Zinke of Montana, who served as interior secretary during the Trump administration. (He left under a cloud he blamed on “vicious and politically motivated attacks.”)
This is the family photo that got @SteveDaines put in twitter jail. Stop censoring our Montana way of life! Great shot, Cindy! pic.twitter.com/wXp0M53PeW
— Ryan Zinke (@RyanZinke) February 7, 2023
A spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee told CNN: “This is insane. Twitter should immediately reverse this suspension.”
Sen. Steve Daines’ office says he was suspended from Twitter because of the below profile pic showing him and his wife hunting. Spox for NRSC: “This is insane. Twitter should immediately reverse this suspension.” pic.twitter.com/EeZsUcWaFQ
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) February 7, 2023
“What a disgrace,” Donald Trump Jr. wrote.
Twitter has ridiculously suspended Sen. @SteveDaines because his profile picture is of him and his wife hunting…What a disgrace! pic.twitter.com/vH9QohkwSc
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) February 7, 2023
Sen. Mike Lee, the Utah Republican who’s actually a Republican (the Utah’s other senator is Mitt Romney), might have summed up conservative suspicions the best:
“My friend @SteveDaines was put in Twitter jail this morning for having this image as his profile picture. Why?” Lee wrote
My friend @SteveDaines was put in Twitter jail this morning for having this image as his profile picture. Why? pic.twitter.com/wKlv9bdKf8
— Mike Lee (@BasedMikeLee) February 7, 2023
“Is it because Steve and Cindy are hunters? Or because they are hunters who are (gasp) actually hunting?”
Or is it because they’re prominent Republicans, and must therefore be punished?
— Mike Lee (@BasedMikeLee) February 7, 2023
“Or is it because they’re prominent Republicans, and must therefore must be punished?”
That’s the $64,000 question. And considering that one of Daines’ most recent posts before the suspension was a blistering open letter to Biden about his bungled handling of a Chinese spy balloon, it’s at least a reasonable bet that Daines’ politics might have played a role.
In a statement to Fox News Digital, Dumke said Daines’ office is working on the suspension, but considers it “preposterous.”
“The senator thinks it’s preposterous that a picture of him and his wife hunting — an activity that is engrained in the Montana way of life — would be against Twitter rules,” the statement said. “Our team has reached out to Twitter, and we’ll be working to get this resolved.”
The Fox News report stated the network had reached out to Twitter for comment, but it’s tough to picture a comment that would matter beyond an abject apology — if a photo as innocuous as this one can get a sitting senator suspended.
And that apology isn’t just due to Daines. It’s to every American, regardless of politics, who appreciates hunting in the outdoors and the respect it fosters for wildlife.
It’s long overdue to every American who shares Daines’ conservative outlook and deep-seated, well-founded suspicion that Big Tech is dug in on the Democratic side of U.S. political fights.
Without that, and for all of Elon Musk’s public commitment to free speech, any other words about a supposed change in Twitter culture are going to be empty.
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