Trump was banned from several social media platforms in the wake of the Jan. 6 riot on the U.S. Capitol by his supporters.
Former President Donald Trump claimed in public remarks on Wednesday he would lead class-action lawsuits against three of the country's biggest tech companies — Facebook, Twitter and Google — and their CEOs following his bans on their platforms in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol riots.
Calling it a "very beautiful development," Trump, 75, said he would serve as the lead plaintiff in the suits directed at what he called the "illegal, shameful censorship of the American people."
The suits are being filed against the companies as well as their CEOs — including Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, and Sundar Pichai — all of whom Trump referred to wryly as "three real nice guys" in his Wednesday remarks.
"We're demanding an end to the shadow-banning ... a stop to the banishing, blacklisting and cancelling," he continued, speaking at a Wednesday press conference from his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club.
The filing, Trump said, "seeks injunctive relief to allow prompt restitution ... it has to be prompt because it's destroying our country."
"We're going to hold Big Tech very accountable," Trump said. "This is the first of numerous other lawsuits that I assume would follow."
Trump said that the suits will be "added to" over time, though he didn't offer further details.
Trump was joined by Brooke Rollins, the president and CEO of America First Policy Institute (a group launched by former administration officials after Trump left office), who referred to the bans as "a suppression of First Amendment rights online," and a seizing of "the American public square."
He was also flanked by a group of citizens he said had been "illegally" banned from social media platforms, including a schoolteacher who he claimed was kicked off Facebook for sharing a post questioning whether students should be required to wear masks amid the pandemic.
Trump's press conference — one of a handful of public appearances he's made since leaving office in January — began by focusing on his lawsuits, but eventually meandered into other territory, with the former president moving away from scripted remarks to talk about "Russia," impeachment efforts against him, his response to the COVID-19 pandemic (which he praised) and "defunding the police."
Requests for comment sent to Facebook, Twitter, and Google were not immediately returned.