Tuesday 12 January 2021 7:25 pm

Trump brands social media ban ‘catastrophic mistake’ and defends pre-riot speech

Donald Trump has branded his social media ban a “catastrophic mistake” as he refused to take responsibility for inciting riots at the Capitol last week.

The outgoing president, who has been accused of inciting violence and is facing a second impeachment, today played down his role in the riots and attempted to blame Silicon Valley.

“I think that Big Tech is doing a horrible thing for our country and to our country, and I believe it’s going to be a catastrophic mistake for them. They’re dividing and divisive,” he told reporters at the start of a trip to Texas.

He added that the companies had made a “terrible mistake” and said there was a “counter move” to the bans, though he did not back this up with any explanation.

Twitter, Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon were among the tech giants to block or restrict the president’s accounts last week after his supporters stormed the Capitol during a riot that killed five people.

In a speech posted to his social media accounts Trump had told his supporters to “walk down to the Capitol”, adding: “You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”

The comments prompted widespread criticism from political leaders around the globe, while Democrats have launched impeachment proceedings against him for inciting insurrection.

Trump today insisted his speech was “totally appropriate” and dismissed the impeachment efforts as “ridiculous”.

“I think it’s [the impeachment procedure] causing tremendous danger to our country and it’s causing tremendous anger. I want no violence,” he said.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote on an article of impeachment tomorrow.