AP Photo/Alex Brandon
Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile temporarily shut down President Donald Trump’s campaign texting program, which serves as a cornerstone of the president’s digital platform.
Politico reported on Monday that Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T flagged “potential regulatory problems” with the Trump campaign’s messaging operation. Within “Trump’s orbit,” many continue to speculate that big tech companies “are looking to influence the election” against the president.
Trump recently accused Twitter and Facebook of censoring conservatives, and Donald Trump Jr., Trump’s son, contended that Google’s Gmail platform is sending Trump campaign emails to voters’ spam folders.
Republican operatives have said that email and text messaging lists are some of the most vital parts of a campaign apparatus.
Eric Wilson, a GOP digital strategist who worked for the Marco Rubio 2016 presidential campaign, said, “A campaign’s email and text messaging list are some of the most important assets they have in 2020.”
He added that it was “really very concerning to see that such a significant issue happened and to see that it wasn’t resolved in a timely manner.”
Politico reported that the decision was allegedly not made by Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T to cancel the president’s messaging platform; instead, the companies contend that third-party administrators that monitor their text messaging services blocked the campaign messages. The administrators insist that they were following the guidelines established by the Cellular Telecommunications Industry (CTI). The major telecoms shut down the Trump campaign’s messaging during a test run on the Fourth of July, potentially costing the campaign a large number of donations from supporters.
The Cellular Telecommunications Industry, which represents mobile phone groups, did not say why they blocked the president’s messaging service, but said in a statement, “We expect all senders — whether airlines, schools, banks or campaigns — to include clear opt-out language and gain prior consent before sending a text.”
“These simple steps help protect consumers from spam and maintain text messaging as a trusted medium for everyone,” the group added.
Gary Toby, the Trump campaign’s digital director emphasized how important its messaging services is for getting out the vote ahead of elections. He said:
Peer-to-peer texting has quickly become a critical tool for Republicans and Democrats. Both sides agree, it’s going to lead to more Americans voting, a great thing for our country. There is bipartisan commitment to continue working with mobile carriers and the entire mobile messaging industry to ensure the channel remains open and secure.
Tim Cameron, a digital strategist who worked for the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), said, “I understand that telecom might want to change the rules about how political campaigns operate on their platforms.” He added, “But those changes should take place after the election, and once they’re in place when you’re in a period just a few months before the election, it’s not the time to change them.”
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.