There was much ado about nothing Monday morning outside Twitter headquarters, where police and journalists waited for a deluge of pro-Trump protest chaos that never came.
The Trumpers didn't show up, and neither, apparently, did many or any counter-protesters following an announcement that went around Sunday about an 8 a.m. protest at 10th and Market — outside the former SF Mart building that has housed Twitter for a decade, but where very few employees have been present since last March.
As KTVU reports, it was a sparse crowd dominated by SF police Monday morning outside the Twitter building, with a couple counter-protesters holding signs like "Counter Trump's Coup."
Also, ABC 7's Dan Noyes tweeted a video from the scene saying, "There are more police here than anyone else. The barricades are here, they brought in people on overtime. But a police source tells me... they don't think anything is going to happen today. [But] they will hang around just in case."
Protest at #Twitter HQ is a bust. Police had flier that Trump supporters would be here to protest the president being banned from the platform, but the protest did not materialize. pic.twitter.com/NGuhIWObSP— Dan Noyes (@dannoyes) January 11, 2021
The obviously not-well-organized effort was announced on TheDonald.win, a Reddit-like chat board where Redditors who were previously subscribed to the subreddit r/The_donald migrated after that subreddit was banned from Reddit last fall.
On Friday, Twitter finally decided to ban Trump for good, years after they probably should have done so, following several days of chaos and fallout in Washington, D.C. stemming from Trump's rally in which he incited a mob to storm the Capitol.
Reddit also banned a subreddit called donald_trump last week, and Discord banned The_Donald's channel, which is associated with TheDonald.win. And meanwhile, the right-wing's answer to Twitter where they don't get banned for being racist or discussing violence, Parler, has been taken off of Apple's and Google's app stores. And it seems like a matter of time before they do the same with Gab, a similar right-leaning Twitter copycat that arose in recent years as far-right figures were increasingly de-platformed from mainstream platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
The New York Times reports via White House insiders that Trump spent the weekend without Twitter "cycling through fury and acceptance, ultimately telling people he was fine without it." But he believes his supporters will be outraged by his having been silenced.
He has not had a lot to say for the two months since he lost the election, however, apart from repeating his claims about votes being fraudulent and perpetuating the delusion, which he apparently seems to share, that he would have actually won were it not for "fraud." As the Times points out, by not using the White House briefing room or other official tools at his disposal like giving interviews to the media, he has "in some ways chosen to muzzle himself."
But Twitter was still his bag, and his great mouthpiece for the last decade or so. And after assuming the president, aides concur he took great pleasure in "tweeting and then watching the chyrons on cable news channels quickly change in response." And for a narcissist with a fragile ego and little appetite for actual governing, the presidency basically amounted to him tweeting a lot and watching Twitter and television for cues about what to tweet about next.
Trump's ardent fans — at least the type who have bought big flags, attend rallies, and would gladly storm the Capitol in his name — have typically had to fly or drive a fair distance to reach San Francisco. (Case in point.) And the various planned rallies by the right over the past three years that have gotten the Left and the SFPD nervous have generally amounted to little beyond breathless media coverage and some counter-protests that occasionally turn into street brawls.
Though that's not to say the crazies aren't more determined than ever right now. Let's just hope that Bay Area fades as a target for their rage, for the sake of everyone's blood pressure around here.