One Lone Democrat Defends Free Speech and Musk and CNN Seems to Agree

Phil Pasquini /
Phil Pasquini /

You know the old adage, “politics makes some strange bedfellows?” Well, that is certainly the case with Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif) and Twitter’s CEO Elon Musk.

Khanna appeared on CNN’s “Outfront” program on Monday and was interviewed by CNN anchor Erin Burnett. She was asked about Musk’s release of the first set of “Twitter Files” last Friday and the fallout that has happened since.

If you did more than a quick scan through all of the information that was released from Twitter, you came across a significant email from Rep. Khanna. He actually stood up for free speech and expressed his opinion that Twitter deliberately suppressed the New York Post’s story on the Hunter Biden laptop in October of 2020. Khanna simply said that it was wrong from a First Amendment standpoint.

According to other journalists, Khanna was the only Democratic lawmaker in all of the responses who took this stance. All the others responded with agreement on Twitter’s decision and position.

During the CNN interview, Khanna stood behind his original position and comments and he said that the “liberal Democrat” should be for the “principle of standing up for First Amendment speech.”

Here is his whole comment to Burnett, “Erin, what surprised me is that Twitter made the decision in the first place to censor. Look, liberal Democrats should be for the principle of standing up for First Amendment speech. And ‘New York Times’ Sullivan said: we want speech to be open, uninhibited, wide ranging.”

He went on to note that he understands that Twitter is a private sector but they are really a modern public town square. He said it was disappointing to him that they were suppressing The NY Post story.

Burnett followed up, “And based on the communications that we have that were released, you are the only Democratic lawmaker who said that. You spoke up. You told Twitter to be considerate. You said you didn’t think it was right. You stood up for the First Amendment. Your email was thoughtful and definitive. Are you disappointed that you’re the only one?”

Khanna responded that he stood by every word. He said that he got into politics because he believed American democracy is great and everyone had a voice to stand up and participate in speech. He hopes that more Democrats will stand up for the broader principle and have forums that don’t have censorship and allow for all perspectives.

What was surprising to many is how Burnett seemed to agree with the free speech principle and asked meaningful questions along the way. That goes against what many of her colleagues at CNN have said about what has gone on at Twitter.

Erin Burnett should be commended for this interview, but so should Khanna. He wrote that email to the Twitter executives never imagining that it would be released to the general public. He did the right thing even when no one was looking, which is telling about the true measure of this man.

This is so refreshing to see from the left on this issue.

Finally, a Democrat with the courage to stand up for the principles their party has championed for years. And to think, he was the only one.

One last thing about Khanna that is surprising, he is from California. The California 17th Congressional District is located in the heart of Silicon Valley in the Southern area of the San Francisco Bay Area. The district encompasses portions of both Santa Clara County and Alameda County including the cities of Fremont, Newark, Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Santa Clara, North San Jose, and Milpitas.