What could have been done to prevent the #MAGABomber, Cesar Sayoc, from sending explosives to almost a dozen of Trump’s biggest critics, including Former President Obama, Congresswoman Maxine Waters and Senator Kamala Harris?
Apparently, listening to a Black woman.
According to USA Today, Rochelle Ritchie, the former Press Secretary for House Democrats, reported Sayoc to Twitter TWO WEEKS before he was arrested for threatening her life after she appeared on FOX News.
One of the tweets from Sayoc’s account read: “We will see you 4 sure. Hug your loved ones real close every time you leave you home.”
Another one said, “We have nice silent Air boat ride for u here on our land Everglades Swamp .We will see you 4 sure.Hug your loved ones real close every time you leave you home.”
Pretty disturbing…so what did Twitter do? Apparently, not a damn thing.
They wrote her back, letting her know that Sayoc’s tweets did not violate their rules against abusive behavior. On Friday, he was apprehended by the FBI for sending explosives aimed to assassinate politicians and employees of CNN.
When Ritchie realized that the man who had been harassing her was the same man who allegedly sent these bombs, she was shocked and later angered by Twitter’s complacency.
She tweeted on Friday (October 26), “Hey @Twitter remember when I reported the guy who was making threats towards me after my appearance on @FoxNews and you guys sent back a bs response about how you didn’t find it that serious. Well guess what it’s the guy who has been sending #bombs to high profile politicians!!!!”
Ritchie expressed these same sentiments to USA Today.
“I had reported this to Twitter and they did absolutely nothing about it. What’s abusive behavior? Do I have to be found floating in the Everglades in order for this to be taken seriously? Does a bomb have to go off in order for this to be taken seriously?”
Initially Twitter claimed they couldn’t comment on Ritchie’s complaints or their taking down of Sayoc’s Twitter account because it was “an ongoing law enforcement investigation,” but on Friday evening, they issued an apology for not taking Ritchie’s concerns seriously.
“The tweet clearly violated our rules and should have been removed. We are deeply sorry for the error.”
Ritchie also blames President Trump for encouraging his supporters, which Sayoc was, to enact this type of violence and bigotry in our country.
“If I, as a former press secretary for Congress, can try to have some sort of responsible rhetoric when I go on conservative television or left-leaning networks, if I can frame my comments so that it does not create a hostile or volatile situation, then the president should be able to do the same,” Ritchie told USA TODAY.
“Unfortunately, he does not have that same skill set, and this is where we are now, where these people think that this is OK, and it’s absolutely not OK.”
Plenty of people took to Twitter to support Ritchie and complain about Twitter’s uneven treatment of abuse against people of color on the social media platform:
Let’s see if Twitter will actually do better.