The fundraising campaign is the creation of former covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson. The ex-spy, whose cover was blown 14 years ago, is now aiming to purchase a controlling share of Twitter in order to have the power to delete Trump’s account.
So far, she has raised at least $21,740 of her $1 billion goal since she created the page on Aug. 16. The Associated Press reports that $6 billion would be necessary to buy a majority stake in the company but that $1 billion would make Wilson Twitter’s biggest shareholder.
Wilson served as a covert operations officer with the CIA, working on nonproliferation and counterterrorism, until her cover was blown in July 2003 through a column by Robert Novak in The Washington Post. The column was published soon after Wilson’s husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, criticized the White House for exaggerating evidence to justify going to war in Iraq. The Plame affair became a scandal for the Bush White House.
“Donald Trump has done a lot of horrible things on Twitter,” Wilson wrote in the fundraiser’s description. “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.”
If Wilson is unable to purchase a majority interest, she says in the fundraiser description, she will explore options for buying a large stake in the company and advocating to deactivate Trump’s account at the annual shareholder meeting. The description goes on to say that if even this is impossible, or if there is surplus money, the funds will go to GlobalZero, an organization that advocates for the elimination of nuclear weapons, at which she is a “movement leader.”
In response to critics who call the goal of her fundraiser a violation of the First Amendment, Wilson has pointed to Twitter’s rules, which state that accounts may be temporarily locked or permanently suspended if they threaten or promote violence.
Among those critics is White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
“Her ridiculous attempt to shut down his first amendment is the only clear violation and expression of hate and intolerance in this equation,” Sanders said in a statement, according to the AP.
In a May interview with NBC, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said that it was important for the nation to hear directly from its leadership and to “have these conversations out in the open rather than behind closed doors.”
Wilson emphasized the significance of an American president’s Twitter feed in an update to the fundraiser page.
“Some people may think Americans can afford to “take him seriously, not literally,” but after many years working as a CIA operative, I can tell you that no other government on the planet has that luxury,” she wrote. “Least of all the North Koreans.”
As her fundraiser continued to gain momentum Wednesday, Wilson wrote on the GoFundMe page about how she hoped to draw attention to the danger posed by Trump’s Twitter messages.
“I wanted to reach new audiences and show them they don’t have to sit by while the Donald Trump uses this huge platform to undermine not just the moral fabric of this country, but our national security as well. This isn’t about suppressing free speech online. It’s about taking a stand against reckless bravado and threats of nuclear violence that could have horrific consequences in the real world.”
Wilson and Twitter’s board of directors did not immediately respond to requests for comment.