Twitter suspended Rep. Jim Banks official account after he posted tweets last week regarding former Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine becoming the first openly transgender four-star officer in the U.S. uniformed services.
Banks had responded to the U.S. surgeon general congratulating Levine on her promotion in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps by writing: “The title of first female four-star officer gets taken by a man.”
According to The Hill, a Twitter spokesperson said Banks tweet violated the Hateful Conduct Policy. “The account referenced has been temporarily locked for violating our Hateful Conduct Policy. The account owner is required to delete the violative Tweet before regaining access to their account.”
Twitter’s hateful conduct policy, hateful conduct can include “targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals.”
Appointed by President Joe Biden, Levine became the nation’s highest ranking openly transgender official earlier this year. As Pennsylvania’s health secretary, she was known for her work on the opioid epidemic and COVID-19 pandemic.
“A statement of fact”
Banks, whose district covers Fort Wayne and surrounding northeastern Indiana, has frequently drawn attention with right-wing social media comments. He stood by his post about Levine. In a statement issued through Twitter on Saturday from his personal account, he said, “My tweet was a statement of fact. Big Tech doesn’t have to agree with me, but they shouldn’t be able to cancel me. If they silence me, they will silence you.”
Some Republicans have alleged that social media companies have sought to unfairly censor conservatives. Earlier this year, former President Trump was booted off several platforms following the Jan. 6 insurrection. Also this year, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a bill that fines social media companies seeking to ban political candidates on their sites.