Hogan Gidley, the former national press secretary for President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, claimed Sunday on Fox News that the president is unable to speak out more against the Capitol insurrection because he no longer has access to social media.

“The media are trying to have it both ways,” said Gidley. “On the one hand, [the media says] he should be censored by Big Tech and not be allowed to talk. He also shouldn’t say anything because it’s divisive. And then when he doesn’t say anything and can’t say anything because the platforms have removed him, they say, ‘Where’s the president? Why aren’t we hearing from him?’”

The president was banned from his preferred mode of communication, Twitter, and other social media platforms after he incited a deadly riot on Jan. 6, following a monthslong disinformation campaign asserting that the election was stolen from him.

Trump still has access to the White House briefing room. He can release statements to the press. He can go on national television, as can his current and former spokespeople.

Former Trump campaign spox Hogan Gidley claims Trump “can’t” denounce the Capitol riot because social media “platforms have removed him” — as though tweeting is the only way the president can communicate with the public pic.twitter.com/bbCnaenGfA

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 17, 2021

Earlier in the interview, Gidley had defended Trump’s response to the riots, claiming that Trump “called it out in real-time beforehand.” In fact, Trump urged his supporters to march to the Capitol and to “fight like hell” to protest the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory. When the crowd chanted “Fight for Trump,” the president said “thank you.”

After the mob stormed the Capitol, Trump told them to be peaceful and go home before adding, “We love you, you’re very special,” and, “I know how you feel.”

His press secretary condemned the violence in a terse briefing the following day. A week later, after he was impeached for the second time in his presidency, Trump released a video statement in which he “unequivocally” condemned the violence.

Gidley’s comments on Sunday were met with astonishment from critics online.

Little-known fact: Prior to March, 2006, no President ever communicated with the public.

— *Virginia, like the state* (@texpatnj) January 17, 2021

I remember when Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address via tweet

— El Castigador (@VMICoastie) January 17, 2021

I can’t believe I’m writing this. Campaign spokesperson Hogan Gidley claims on Fox News President Trump can’t denounce Capitol attack more because he doesn’t have a platform.

“(He) can’t say anything because the platforms have removed him,” Gidley says.

— Ana Cabrera (@AnaCabrera) January 17, 2021

Do they really think we’re that stupid?

— Scott Monty (@ScottMonty) January 17, 2021

If only there was some way for the President to speak to the public… pic.twitter.com/w1AqI3rIIv

— Kathleen C-Smith (@ktcampbellsmith) January 17, 2021

We pay for him to have his own briefing room and communications team.

He chose to use private companies and repeatedly violated their terms of service. That’s on him.pic.twitter.com/oIs7rXxlN9

— Karen Kish (@asclepiasyriaca) January 17, 2021

Former Trump campaign spokesman Hogan Gidley seriously just said on Fox News that Trump can’t denounce the Capitol attack because he doesn’t have a “platform”. Trump can hold a press conference at any time.

— Hugo Lowell (@hugolowell) January 17, 2021

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