President Donald Trump, during a free-wheeling speech Thursday, said he would be bringing top social media executives to the White House to push them to stop censoring conservatives and try to ensure free speech for everyone’s opinion.
“On behalf of the nation, it’s very important what you’re doing,” Trump said.
He praised them for going around the media “gatekeepers” and “getting the honest word out.”
Trump spoke in the East Room to digital media journalists, commentators, talk show hosts, and activists.
In calling for the giant social media platforms to be more transparent, Trump talked about how his own tweets seem to have been diminished by Twitter.
“It goes up and then they take it down,” Trump said.
“It was like a rocket ship when I put out a beauty,” he said. “Remember when I said someone was spying on me? I turned out to be right.”
Among attendees were Daily Signal Executive Editor Robert Bluey and Maria Sousa, the digital director for The Heritage Foundation.
Bluey, also the vice president of communications for The Heritage Foundation, said in a statement, “attendees at the summit have half a billion social media followers and are reaching people directly without a media filter,” and that is “why their concerns about the implications of bias and censorship are so important.”
“Heavy-handed government regulation is not the answer,” Bluey added. “Everyone who cares about free speech, regardless of their political beliefs, should want social media companies to be responsive to their users, not government. There’s evidence the market is working and social media companies are responding.”
Also in attendance were YouTube personalities Diamond and Silk, who the president invited to the stage to hug.
Lila Rose of the pro-life investigative group Live Action was also in attendance and talked about how some of her group’s videos were banned from social media sites.
Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk and Project Veritas’ James O’Keefe were also present.
Former Trump White House aide Sebastian Gorka was also in the crowd and came to a later Rose Garden event with the group of conservative media. Gorka got into an exchange with one reporter in the Rose Garden after the event.
Trump referred to “stone cold crazy MSNBC,” speaking of the liberal cable network that has numerous programs critical of him. He also made familiar references to the “fake news.”
“I don’t think the mainstream media is free speech either,” Trump said. “To me, that’s dangerous speech.”
Trump talked about his July Fourth speech under the rain and joked, “They learned it was my real hair.”