SALT LAKE CITY — Nick Pappas never thought he’d be in such a club. But he is one of seven people who sued President Trump after they were blocked by POTUS on Twitter.
“I don’t think I would ever have met these people if it wasn’t for us all being blocked by the president,” Pappas said. “We call it the ‘block’ party.”
Pappas, a Utah native who now lives and works in New York City as a writer and comedian, said it all stemmed from a tweet he sent on June 5, 2017, responding to President Trump’s tweet on the travel ban.
“He said that the government needs to protect us, and I said, ‘Trump is right, the government needs to protect us, that’s why the courts are protecting us from him,’” Pappas said.
After he sent that tweet to his nearly 60,000 followers, he noticed President Trump blocked him from seeing the president’s profile.
“I wasn’t outraged. I wasn’t upset,” Pappas said. “It was just a strange scenario that I got blocked by the President of the United States.”
He said he then got in touch with others in the same boat. The group was eventually contacted by the Knight Institute, a First Amendment rights group, who decided to file a lawsuit.
On Wednesday, a New York City judge ruled that the president is in violation of the constitution. The judge found that Trump’s tweets are a part of a public forum in which the public engages with the president, and blocking users violates the First Amendment. The White House did not respond to a request for comments either on the decision or on whether Trump would unblock blocked Twitter users.
Pappas said although the ruling may not change the president’s habits on Twitter right away, he hopes in time that will change for the better.
“He has blocked some of the strongest voices, so I think that it is the right ruling,” Pappas said. “If he wants to read what we say, more power to him, but if he doesn’t at least other people can read what we say.”
Pappas said he is still blocked and believes this is not the end, given the appeals process.