Facebook, Twitter censorship of Trump may 'backfire': GOP official

GOP has built up infrastructure to bypass social media companies, if necessary

Facebook and Twitter's recent clampdown on President Trump's posts won't sideline GOP outreach efforts for the 2020 presidential election, one Republican National Committee official told FOX Business.

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Cassie Smedile, RNC Deputy Communications Director, said Republicans for years have collected supporters' emails and phone numbers and they can bypass the social media companies and speak directly to voters, if necessary.

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"We're not reliant on any one avenue or entity to spread our message," Smedile told FOX Business in an interview. "We have the president who is doing a great job himself of that. And then the infrastructure that can be amplified as well."

Twitter and Facebook have recently taken action to remove or flag Trump's posts over concerns they spread misinformation. Republicans have panned the social media companies for anti-Trump bias.

With coronavirus limiting to face-to-face campaigning and large-scale events, the 2020 presidential election has turned into a nearly virtual campaign. With Twitter's and Facebook's decision to police Trump's posts, Smedile pointed to the many other avenues Trump can speak to voters.

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"I think that's why you've seen the infrastructure being built to be able to talk more directly to our supporters and to the American people generally, whether that's through text messages and emails or, of course, that the president who uses his Twitter very effectively, but also being in these communities, as we have been for years now," Smedile said, pointing to local GOP outreach. "...All of that has been happening for years and all of that will be instrumental as we head into this final stretch of this campaign."

The campaign is continuing with door-knocking campaigns, virtual meetups and phone and email outreach to spread Trump's vision directly to supporters, she said.

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And if Facebook and Twitter continue to restrict Trump's posts, Smedile thinks it may "backfire" on the companies.

"If Twitter and Facebook and any other social media entity is going to choose to subjectively censor free speech, that doesn't sit well with the American people," Smedile said. "And so it's really at their peril ... at the peril of our opponents to not come out against doing that because that's, I think, going to backfire."

Facebook and Twitter both took action Wednesday against a video shared by Trump they say contains misinformation about the coronavirus.

The video was Trump telling "Fox & Friends" that schools should reopen and "children are almost — and I would almost say definitely — but almost immune from this disease.”

While Twitter has taken action previously against some of Trump's tweets, this was the first time Facebook had taken down a post from the president regarding misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic.

"This video includes false claims that a group of people is immune from COVID-19 which is a violation of our policies around harmful COVID misinformation," Facebook spokesperson Liz Bourgeois told Fox News in a statement.

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Trump campaign spokesperson Courtney Parella told Fox News that President Trump was "stating a fact that children are less susceptible to the coronavirus."

"Another day, another display of Silicon Valley’s flagrant bias against this President, where the rules are only enforced in one direction," she added. "Social media companies are not the arbiters of truth.”

Fox News' Lucas Manfredi contributed to this report.