President Trump did not like Twitter’s reaction to his mail ballot tweet or to his admonitory tweet to Minneapolis protesters implying that they could be shot.

The first, claiming the use of mail ballots would lead to fraud,  yielded a fact-checking label from Twitter.

The second, calling the protesters of an alleged murder of a black man by a white Minneapolis police officer “thugs” and threatening “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” was described by Twitter as “glorifying violence” requiring readers to click through the Twitter notice to get to the Trump tweet.

After the mail ballot tweet was fact-checked by Twitter, Trump announced that he would issue an executive order disciplining social media for fact-checking.

He did and it didn’t.

The May 28, 2020 “executive order on preventing online censorship” has four operative sections. Section 1, called “policy” boils down to Trump’s allegation that Twitter selectively censors in a manner that “clearly reflects political bias” because it does not censor Adam Schiff (sic) or the Chinese Communist Party.

(The “everybody does it” argument actually applies to Trump because his thousands of tendentious, false and often vicious tweets have never before been fact-checked.)

This section contains a full-throated invocation of the “sacred right” to free speech, praising the “Founding Fathers.”

Section 2, called “protections against online censorship” purports to state the “policy of the United States” that censoring social media companies should no longer have the protection of Section 230 (c)(2)(A) of the Communications Decency Act (1996)  removing liability of social media companies for restrictions placed on posts and those posting.

Section 3 directs federal departments to “review”  and report spending on social media.

Section 4, once again invoking the “policy of the United States,” says the Federal Trade Commission should “consider” going after social media “deceptive practices” (it’s an independent regulatory agency); and directs filing of a rule making petition with the Federal Communications Commission (another independent regulatory agency) to remove Section 230 protections if a social media company’s fact-checking is, inter alia, “pretextual.”

None of this will or can have the slightest effect on the social media companies like Twitter and Facebook. Simply put, the executive order conflicts with federal legislation.

The Section 230 protections Trump seeks to undercut  are ordered by the Communications Decency Act permitting Twitter and others to restrict access to their platforms of “excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable” material, free of liability for doing so.

In that law, based on actual legislative findings, the Congress validly states the “policy of the United States” that Trump seeks to vainly and illegally invoke in his executive order.

Moreover, the Congress granted exemption from civil liability to social media companies for restricting access “whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.”

Thus, all of Trump’s invocation of his freedom of speech is so much hooey. He’s free to speak. Twitter is free to restrict his access to Twitter.  He is the president of the United States, not the president of Twitter.

Most “excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable” material that someone tries to post, vile as it may be, is constitutionally protected (and so is Trump’s). The social media platforms are legislatively authorized to restrict access to them anyway.

This is not the place to discuss Trump’s Twitter slander of  morning MSNBC host Joe Scarborough. Vile.

This executive order saga is true to the Trump m.o.: threaten to do something and then don’t do it: open churches if the Governor doesn’t; open state economies if the Governor doesn’t; call back a vacationing Congress to confirm his appointees; etc. This executive order did not discipline social media.

In this case, Trump came up with the proverbial mouse that roared: an incoherent, ill-conceived and illegal political screed.