Twitter targets GOP rep who called transgender official Rachel Levine ‘a man’ — but lawmaker refuses to back down

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Twitter removed a tweet from the official account of Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) on Saturday, accusing the lawmaker of violating the platforms rules against “hateful content.”

What are the details?

Banks was reportedly “censored,” locked out of his official Twitter account until he deleted a tweet that called Rachel Levine, the assistant secretary for health, “a man.” Levine was born a biological man, but is transgender and now identifies as a woman.

Banks critically tweeted about Levine on Tuesday after news broke that Levine would receive the honor of being the “first-ever female four-star admiral” of the U.S. Public Health Services Commissioned Corps.

“The title of first female four-star officer gets taken by a man,” Banks said in the now-removed tweet.

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By Saturday, Twitter had taken down the message, accusing Banks of violating the platform’s rules prohibiting “hateful content.”

“This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules,” the message from Twitter read. “You may not promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, caste, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease. We also do not allow accounts whose primary purpose is inciting harm towards others on the basis of these categories.”


Twitter rules further explain that “misgendering” someone is a violation of platform policies.

“We prohibit targeting others with repeated slurs, tropes or other content that intends to dehumanize, degrade or reinforce negative or harmful stereotypes about a protected category. This includes targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals,” Twitter rules state.

How did Banks respond?

The Indiana congressman refused to back down from his remark about Levine.

“My tweet was a statement of fact,” Banks said in a statement. “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. We can’t allow Big Tech to prevent us from telling the truth. When Republicans take back the House next year, we must restore honesty to our public forums and hold Big Tech accountable.”

Twitter, however, did not censor Banks for another tweet critical of Levine.

“Calling someone that was born and lived as a man for 54 years the first ‘female’ four-star officer is an insult to every little girl who dreams of breaking glass ceilings one day,” that tweet said.

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