After briefly suspending an account belonging to Mitch McConnell’s re-election campaign, Twitter has reinstated @Team_Mitch and is swiftly working to patch things up with the Senate majority leader and his many allies on the right.
Twitter suspended the campaign account on Wednesday morning after it shared a video that included audio of violent threats against McConnell.
On Friday, Twitter explained its reversal and suggested that the campaign account was flagged along with several other users for sharing the video, which the company said violated its rules against abusive behavior.
“The video contained a violent threat directed at Leader McConnell, a clear violation of the Twitter Rules,” the company tweeted. “After multiple appeals from affected users and Leader McConnell’s team confirming their intent to highlight the threats for public discussion, we have reviewed this case more closely.”
Twitter said that the video will remain online but will be accompanied by a “sensitive media interstitial.”
Predictably, GOP figures descended on the suspension immediately, pointing to the incident as an act of political bias—a common accusation conservatives have leveled at big social-media companies in recent months.
Trump’s 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale seized on the political moment Friday morning, warning that he would pull the campaign’s planned ad spending on the platform.
“We stand with Sen. McConnell & won’t spend another dime with @Twitter until they unfreeze his account,” Parscale tweeted. “Twitter is cool with Hamas or Louis Farrakhan, but not Senate Majority Leader. Terrible bias!”
In July, Twitter forced Farrakhan to delete an anti-Semitic tweet comparing Jewish people to termites.
As Trump’s digital media director in 2016, Parscale spent $300,000 on Twitter as part of an aggressive online strategy that leveraged social media to drive support and cash to Trump’s presidential bid.
“Facebook and Twitter were the reason we won this thing,” Parscale told Wired after the election. “Twitter for Mr. Trump. And Facebook for fundraising.”
After being reinstated, the McConnell campaign seized on the “victory” as a fundraising opportunity. “Thank you to EVERYONE for helping #FreeMitch,” the account tweeted, next to a link to its donation page.