A former undercover CIA agent has so far raised over $35,000 in a bold attempt to purchase Twitter so she can stop Donald Trump using it.
Valerie Plame Wilson launched a Gofundme page last week announcing on Twitter that, "If If Twitter executives won't shut down Trump's violence and hate, then it's up to us. #BuyTwitter #BanTrump."
She hopes to raise $1billion.
The White House responded to the initiative on Wednesday, with press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issuing a statement saying that the low total (at that point less than $6000 (£4680) had been raised) showed that the American people like the Republican president's use of Twitter.
"Her ridiculous attempt to shut down his first amendment is the only clear violation and expression of hate and intolerance in this equation," the statement read.
Wilson then proceeded to unpick the validity of Sanders' first amendment claim as donations surpassed $35,277 (£27,516) on Thursday.
Wilson has ramped up her fundraising campaign on twitter during the last few days and has called out the social media platform for not banning Trump for "promoting violence" on his account.
Wilson wrote on her fundraising page that she hopes to raise enough money to buy a controlling interest of Twitter stock.
If that fails, Wilson wrote, she will explore options to buy "a significant stake″ and champion the proposal at Twitter's annual shareholder meeting.
If Wilson hits her $1 billion goal, she'd still fall far short of gaining a controlling interest in twitter. As of Wednesday a majority stake, HuffPost reported, would cost roughly $6 billion.
A $1 billion stake would, however, make her Twitter's largest shareholder and give her a very strong position to exert influence on the company.
Twitter has declined to comment on Wilson's attempts to purchase it.
Wilson's identity as a CIA operative was leaked by an official in President George W. Bush's administration in 2003 in an effort to discredit her husband, Joe Wilson, a former diplomat who criticized Bush's decision to invade Iraq. She left the agency in 2005.
Wilson writes on her Gofundme page:
Donald Trump has done a lot of horrible things on Twitter. From emboldening white supremacists to promoting violence against journalists, his tweets damage the country and put people in harm's way. But threatening actual nuclear war with North Korea takes it to a dangerous new level.
It's time to shut him down. The bad news is Twitter has ignored growing calls to enforce their own community standards and delete Trump's account. The good news is we can make that decision for them.
Twitter is a publicly traded company. Shares = power. This GoFundMe will fund the purchase of a controlling interest in Twitter. At the current market rate that would require over a billion dollars — but that's a small price to pay to take away Trump's most powerful megaphone and prevent a horrific nuclear war.
(Wilson then included a Tweet Trump made on August 11, which read: "Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path.)
Tweets like this are heard around the world. As he uses his biggest platform to escalate the crisis, this could all-too-easily spark a military confrontation that goes nuclear. John Oliver summed this up perfectly:
"We've become accustomed to discounting a large percentage of what comes out of Trump's face. But North Korea is listening to what he says. And the people there have been primed for decades to believe America is primed for invasion."
And remember: As commander-in-chief Trump has absolute authority to make good on these threats. The nuclear briefcase follows him everywhere. He can pick up the phone at any moment he can pick and order a nuclear strike. That's why the world takes his words so seriously.
There's a real danger that Trump's tweets could actually start a nuclear war. Let's delete his account before that happens.
Trump has fully weaponized Twitter: it's not something that just happens "online." Time and again his use of this huge global platform has major consequences in the real world. With a single tweet, he can damage international relationships and alliances, spread fake news like a virus, embolden white supremacists to march in the streets, or send stock markets crashing or soaring.
Do we want to find out if his tweets can put nuclear missiles in the air, too
Trump has already brought us closer to nuclear war than any time since the Cuban Missile Crisis. We can't take Trump's nukes away (yet!), but we can take away his biggest megaphone and stop him from tweeting armageddon.
Let's #BuyTwitter and delete Trump's account before he starts a nuclear war with it. The whole world will thank us when we do!
P.S. — Proceeds from this campaign will be used to buy a controlling share of Twitter. If we can't get a majority interest, we'll explore options for buying a significant stake in the company and champion this proposal at the annual shareholder meeting. If that's impossible for any reason or if there is a surplus from this campaign, 100% of the balance of proceeds will be donated to Global Zero, a nonprofit organization leading the resistance to nuclear war.