Trump asked Twitter to take down ‘derogatory’ tweet from Chrissy Teigen: whistleblower

Then-President Trump asked Twitter to take down a tweet from model and television personality Chrissy Teigen in 2019 because he saw it as “derogatory,” according to testimony from a Twitter whistleblower and former employee. 

The House Oversight and Accountability Committee kicked off its first hearing on Twitter’s role in restricting users’ access to a New York Post story about a laptop belonging to Hunter Biden, President Biden’s son. 

The Post reported in October 2020, shortly before that year’s presidential election, that it received a copy of the laptop’s hard drive from Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani. But Twitter initially prevented users from posting links to the story online over worries about spreading misinformation and a report possibly based on hacked materials, enraging some conservatives. 

Trump and his GOP allies have railed against Twitter moderating certain types of content that they consider censorship, but the testimony from Anika Navaroli, a former member of Twitter’s safety policy team, allegedly shows Trump also attempted to influence Twitter’s content. 

Navaroli testified that her supervisors told her and her team that the platform received “something of a request” from Trump to take down a tweet that Teigen posted criticizing him. 

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), who was questioning Navaroli when she confirmed that, said Trump “heckled” Teigen and her husband, singer John Legend, on Twitter in September 2019, calling them “the musician John Legend and his filthy-mouthed wife.” 

He noted that Teigen responded to that post shortly after, calling Trump a “p—- ass bitch.” 

“In that particular instance, I do remember hearing that we had received a request from the White House to make sure that we evaluated this tweet and that they wanted it to come down because it was a derogatory statement directed toward the president,” Navaroli said. 

Connolly asked the others testifying, including former head of safety and integrity Yoel Roth, former chief legal officer Vijaya Gadde, and former deputy general counsel James Baker if they knew of any time that President Biden or the White House under the Biden administration urged Twitter to take down content. 

Roth and Gadde both said they were not aware of any evidence of that, and Baker said he did not know. 

“If we’re going to have a hearing about the misuse of social media and the intrusion of government in the content on social media, we’ve got an environment-rich target, but it’s not Joe Biden,” Connolly said. “It’s Donald J. Trump.” 

The hearing came after Twitter CEO Elon Musk oversaw the posting of a series of “Twitter Files” alleging to show ways that the federal government tried to influence what content was permitted to remain on Twitter and what should be taken down. 

Teigen responded on Twitter to Navaroli saying what the television personality called Trump on Wednesday, writing, “I…oh my god.” 

The Hill has reached out to Twitter and Trump for comment.

Tags Anika Navaroli Chrissy Teigen Chrissy Teigen content moderation Donald Trump Gerry Connolly Gerry Connolly House Oversight Committee Hunter Biden Joe Biden John Legend Rudy Giuliani Twitter

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