President Donald Trump has decried the existence of “cancel culture” at every opportunity in recent months and used the Republican National Convention to accuse Democrats of stifling free speech.
The GOP featured people Republicans said are “victims” of cancel culture, including Covington Catholic student Nicholas Sandmann, and Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who pointed guns at protesters in front of their house.
“The goal of cancel culture is to make decent Americans live in fear of being fired, expelled, shamed, humiliated and driven from society as we know it,” Trump declared as he accepted his party’s nomination during the Republican National Convention.
But the president himself, who campaigned in 2016 as the “politically incorrect” candidate, has a history of engaging in such behavior.
What is ‘cancel culture’?
The exact definition of “cancel culture” is amorphous, and there is debate over whether it actually exists or is just the act of holding someone accountable for their actions.
Those who call for a boycott of a certain product or service because of beliefs or actions are sometimes accused of “cancelling.” In other instances, public criticism against a person by someone with a large social media platform is considered cancelling. In both instances “cancelling” is used as a way to represent the attempt to remove a product or person.
For example, Trump and his supporters said that liberals were trying to cancel Goya after its CEO praised Trump and was boycotted by many as a result. Trump also thought the push to remove Confederate names from military bases was an instance of cancelling. Criticism and felony charges against the gun-toting couple who pointed their weapons at Black Lives Matter protesters outside their home was a cancel attempt, Trump’s campaign charged. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany falsely said the cartoon show “PAW Patrol” had been actually cancelled amid anti-police rhetoric. “The unhinged left-wing mob is trying to vandalize our history, desecrate our monuments, our beautiful monuments, tear down our statues, and punish, cancel and persecute anyone who does not conform to their demands for absolute and total control,” Trump said at his June campaign rally in Tulsa.
The president has pushed for boycotts, called for the firing of his critics and used his platform, particularly Twitter, to attack people.
Here are some examples of what Trump has tried to “cancel”.