‘Can President Trump Be Sued for Defamation Because of His Personal Tweets?’

If you happen to visit President Trump’s private Twitter page, you will notice his affinity for tweeting. Some of his tweets, at least on their face, promote respectful discourse and are fitting of the office. Other tweets, however, seemingly do not befit our highest office. For example, when President Trump recently tweeted that former President Obama tapped his phone lines and was a ‘[b]ad (or sick) guy’ for doing so, agency officials, politicians, and the media quickly denounced the tweet because of its failure to be grounded in any factual basis. This was not the first time President Trump’s tweets attacked a citizen or corporation, and it appears likely his tweeting habits will continue. President Trump’s tweeting raises the question – can he be sued for defamation (libel) stemming from the tweets of his personal Twitter account? This Post focuses on only one of the standard elements to prove a defamation claim: an unprivileged publication to a third party … (more)

[Alex Walsdorf, University of Minnesota Law Review, 21 March]

First posted 2017-03-24 08:30:07

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