Referring to President Donald Trump’s speech calling for “healing and reconciliation,” evangelist Franklin Graham urged the commander in chief to invite President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and their spouses to the White House “to begin the healing and preparation for a smooth transition.”
“Thank you President Donald J. Trump for your conciliatory words to the nation last night,” Graham, who heads Samaritan’s Purse and Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, wrote on Facebook.
“I hope you will quickly invite President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, and their spouses to the White House for a meeting to begin the healing and preparation for a smooth transition,” he continued.
Graham added, “We are praying for you, Vice President Mike Pence, President-elect Biden, Vice President-elect Harris, and our other leaders in Washington.”
Soon after Graham’s message, Trump said he wouldn’t be attending Biden’s inauguration. “To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th,” he tweeted Friday.
In a two-minute video message posted on Twitter on Thursday, Trump said “tempers must be cooled and calm restored.”
“This moment calls for healing and reconciliation,” he said. “(The year) 2020 has been a challenging time for our people. A menacing pandemic has upended the lives of our citizens, isolated millions in their homes, damaged our economy, and claimed countless lives. Defeating this pandemic and rebuilding the greatest economy on earth will require all of us working together. It will require a renewed emphasis on the civic values of patriotism, faith, charity, community and family. We must revitalize the sacred bonds of love and loyalty that binds us together as one national family.”
On Wednesday, after pro-Trump protesters and others breached the U.S. Capitol building in a bid to prevent the confirmation of Biden’s victory by Congress, Graham wrote: “The division in our country is as great as any time since the Civil War. I am calling on Christians to unite our hearts together in prayer for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, and for the leadership in both parties. Pray that everyone will stop the finger-pointing and realize that both parties bear responsibility for the problems we face today. Pray that they will come together and work together for the good of all of the American people.”
Following a peaceful rally and protests attended by tens of thousands of Trump supporters in Washington, D.C., Wednesday, Trump urged his supporters to rally outside the Capitol. A Capitol police officer and four others, including two women, died during the unrest.
Police shot and killed an unarmed woman as she attempted to climb into the House chamber, three others died from health emergencies, and a U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick, 42, died from injuries he suffered.
On Thursday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that President Trump had been banned from the platform “indefinitely” and for “at least the next two weeks” following the rioting at the Capitol.
“We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great. Therefore, we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete,” Zuckerberg said in a statement.
On Friday, Twitter followed suit. “After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” Twitter said in a statement.
In response to Twitter’s ban, Trump released a statement saying:
“As I have been saying for a long time, Twitter has gone further and further in banning free speech, and tonight, Twitter employees have coordinated with the Democrats and the Radical Left in removing my account from their platform, to silence me—and YOU, the 75,000,000 great patriots who voted for me.
“Twitter may be a private company, but without the government’s gift of Section 230 they would not exist for long.
“I predicted this would happen. We have been negotiating with various other sites, and will have a big announcement soon, while we also look at the possibilities of building out our own platform in the near future. We will not be SILENCED!
“Twitter is not about FREE SPEECH. They are all about promoting a Radical Left platform where some of the most vicious people in the world are allowed to speak freely. STAY TUNED!”
The statement came from the account @POTUS but the Twitter posts were removed by the platform within a few minutes, despite it being a government account.
“Using another account to try to evade a suspension is against our rules,” Twitter said in a statement to media outlets. “We have taken steps to enforce this with regard to recent tweets from the @POTUS account.”
“For government accounts, such as @POTUS and @WhiteHouse, we will not suspend those accounts permanently but will take action to limit their use.”
In October 2019, Harris sent a formal letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey demanding that he suspend the president’s Twitter account.
On Thursday, former first lady Michelle Obama urged social media companies to permanently ban Trump from using their platforms.
Twitter’s ban has led some to ask why the social media giant hasn’t also suspended the accounts of politicians who called for a continuation of the deadly riots over the summer and urged their followers to donate to a bail fund that led to the release of an alleged child rapist and other violent offenders.