ANDERSON — The war between our president and his favorite social media platform escalated in the wee hours of Friday morning. Just before 1 a.m., the president sent out a tweet about the rioting in Minneapolis. He called the demonstrators “thugs” and promised to take action to halt the violence.
 
“Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” he tweeted. “Thank you!” Less than two-and-a-half hours later, Twitter took action. “This Tweet violates our policies regarding the glorification of violence … and the risk it could inspire similar actions today,” the company said.
 
Hours later, the official White House Twitter account posted the same message, and Twitter again took action. “As is standard with this notice, engagements with the Tweet will be limited,” the company said. “People will be able to Retweet with Comment, but will not be able to Like, Reply or Retweet it.”
 
The president is no stranger to outrageous messages on Twitter.
 
Take his latest attack on Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” In a series of tweets, the president suggested Scarborough might have killed a young congressional staffer nearly 20 years ago. “A lot of interest in this story about Psycho Joe Scarborough,” the president tweeted. “So a young marathon runner just happened to faint in his office, hit her head on his desk, & die? I would think there is a lot more to this story than that? An affair? What about the so-called investigator? Read story!”
 
The woman’s still-grieving husband asked Twitter to take down the president’s tweets, but the social media platform declined. “We are deeply sorry about the pain these statements, and the attention they are drawing, are causing the family,” a company representative said in a prepared statement. “We’ve been working to expand existing product features and policies so we can more effectively address things like this going forward, and we hope to have those changes in place shortly.”
 
The president’s response was to repeat his slander. “Psycho Joe Scarborough is rattled,” he tweeted, “not only by his bad ratings but all of the things and facts that are coming out on the internet about opening a Cold Case. He knows what is happening!”
 
After Twitter had the audacity to fact-check his claims of election fraud, the president signed an executive order attacking the protections granted to social media companies under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. “We’re here today to defend free speech from one of the gravest dangers it has faced in American history, frankly,” he said from the Oval Office. “A small handful of powerful social media monopolies control the vast portion of all private and public communications in the United States.”
 
Kate Ruane, senior legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, was skeptical the president would succeed in his effort. “Much as he might wish otherwise, Donald Trump is not the president of Twitter,” she said in a statement. She argued the president was actually benefiting from the provision his order attacked. “If platforms were not immune under the law,” she said, “then they would not risk the legal liability that could come with hosting Donald Trump’s lies, defamation and threats.”
 
Lots of folks would love to see our president stop tweeting. Even his closest advisers have likely been tempted at times to take away his phone. Now that Twitter has taken him on directly, it’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out. What we know for sure is he’ll continue to portray himself as the victim.
 
And many of his supporters will believe it. 

Kelly Hawes is a columnist for CNHI News Indiana. He can be reached at kelly.hawes@indianamediagroup.com. Find him on Twitter @Kelly_Hawes.