On March 10, 2021, Texas Governor Greg Abbott showed again why so many younger tech-literate people consider the older generation to be out of touch. Without any substantiation at all, he referred to the social media site Gab as “anti-Semitic.”
Gab is a social media site similar to Twitter but which resolutely refused to ban anyone for their political opinions.
With his remarks, Abbott was in danger of showing that, at bottom, he was just another sellout from the establishment GOP, not actually interested in meaningfully opposing the left or in allowing conservatives to take advantage of the opportunity to share their views and spread their messages in defiance of Big Tech.
Well, thankfully, the rest of the Texas Republican Party is more sensible. The following day, on March 11, the party announced that it would be keeping its Gab account, despite the governor’s comments.
In response to Abbott’s accusations, Gab and its CEO Andrew Torba released a statement that read, in part, “We protect the political speech of all Americans, regardless of viewpoint, because in this age of cancel culture, nobody else will. That means unpopular viewpoints may be found on the site.” The statement forthrightly stated that “we don’t have political tests for our users” and that “[o]ur test for political speech is whether it is legal or not.”
The statement further added that, “There are many Jewish Gab users and customers, whose lawful speech we protect with just as much zeal as we would protect the lawful speech of any person of any faith, ethnicity, or creed.”
Thankfully, the Republican Party of Texas was not moved by Abbott’s statements to withdraw its presence from Gab. This is all the more impressive when you consider the fact that there was some pressure applied to do so and that politicians are not known for their courage. The vice-chair of the party, Cat Parks, publicly asked that the party delete its account on Gab, but this suggestion was resoundingly rejected.
In a statement on Twitter, the Texas GOP announced that, “The RPT will always fight censorship … TexasGOP has no plan to deplatform from any of our social media accounts. The First Amendment still shines brightly in the Lone Star State.”
In response to this, Gab, on its own official Twitter account, tweeted out a picture of Allen West, the chair of the Texas GOP, and called him, “The next governor of the great state of Texas.”