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Illegal block? Bethel Park man, others sue Trump over being blocked on Twitter

ptrtrumpblocked02071217
Twitter
Joe Papp, 42, of Bethel Park said President Donald Trump blocked him on Twitter after Papp included the hashtag #fakeleader in a reply to the president on the social media website.
ptrtrumpblocked03071217
Twitter
Joe Papp, 42, of Bethel Park said President Donald Trump blocked him on Twitter after Papp included the hashtag #fakeleader in a reply to the president on the social media website.

A Bethel Park man joined a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday against President Trump for blocking Twitter users from his account on the social media website.

“I firmly believe the president violated the Constitution by blocking me on Twitter,” said Joseph Papp, 42, in a statement provided by Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute.

The free-speech group filed the lawsuit in the Southern District of New York on behalf of Papp and six others.

When reached by phone Tuesday evening, Papp said he discovered that Trump had blocked him the day after he sent two replies to Trump’s Twitter post of his weekly address June 3.

“I got up and checked my phone and I didn’t have any notifications. I thought, ‘That’s weird. The president hasn’t tweeted yet,’ ” Papp said.

Papp soon learned that he had been blocked from viewing Trump’s tweets when he was logged into his Twitter account.

Papp’s first reply to Trump’s June 3 tweet had been harmless enough, saying only, “Greetings from Pittsburgh, Sir.” But the second one was accompanied by the hashtag #fakeleader and asked, “Why didn’t you attend your #PittsburghNotParis rally in D.C., Sir?”

Papp said he has been a registered Republican for 10 years.

“I didn’t join this lawsuit for political reasons nor did I try to troll or provoke the president. I wanted to partake in the conversation,” Papp said in his statement.

“Being blocked by President Trump might be a badge of honor for some people, but when it happened to me, I only felt a deep sense of unease,” Papp said. “Everyone being able to see the president’s tweets feels vital to democracy. Now I’m completely cut off from seeing President Trump’s statements in real time.”

Tom Fontaine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7847, [email protected] or via Twitter @FontainePGH.

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