During a CNN Interview with Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna, Hell Freezes Over When He Advocates for the First Amendment

There is a saying that politics create odd bedfellows, and that was certainly the experience of many watching a clip on CNN's Outfront program on Monday, during which Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) was asked by anchor Erin Burnett regarding Twitter CEO Elon Musk's announcement of the release of the first batch of “Twitter Files” last Friday and the subsequent fallout.

Among some of the fascinating emails was one from Khanna, in which he voiced support for free speech and stated his belief that Twitter’s intentional censorship of the New York Post’s blockbuster Hunter Biden laptop story in October 2020 was not right from a First Amendment standpoint.

Khanna is the only Democratic lawmaker in the trove of information who stood by this position. The others responded in a similar manner to Twitter's official position.

In the course of his interview on CNN, Khanna stood behind his remarks, stating that the “liberal Democrat” position “should be for the principle of standing up for First Amendment speech”:

REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): 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. I get Twitter’s a private actor, but they’re effectively a modern public square. And it was disappointing to me that they were suppressing the New York Post.

BURNETT: 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: Well, I mean, look, we’ve all written emails, and I’m glad that they released that one. I’m sure I’ve written things that aren’t as thoughtful. But when I read it, I said, I stand by every word. I mean, I got into politics partly because I believe American democracy is great where we have everyone have a voice to stand up and participate in speech. And I do hope more Democrats will stand up for the broader principle, which is, we want to be—have forums that don’t have censorship, that allow for all perspectives.

The interview was extremely thorough, with Burnett appearing to be on board with the free-speech principle while also asking pertinent questions in the process, something that's been scarce on CNN throughout the years.

Unfortunately, not all Democrats share Khanna’s opinions in regards to freedom of speech and dialogue. This was one reason it was crucial for the Twitter documents to be made public; they demonstrate that, in a closed room when nobody was watching, Khanna said the right things to Twitter high-ups. The old saying goes that you can determine the true character of a person by what they're saying or doing when they think no one is watching.

It's refreshing to see this on the liberal left’s side. However, this is something that's nearly extinct among contemporary Democrats – for whom removing people from the party for WrongThink is becoming the norm. It's safe to say that there will be little to nothing for most conservatives to agree with regarding Khanna's views on other issues; however, on this crucially significant one, he clearly stated it right.

Hell did indeed freeze over on CNN, even if it was only for a short period on Monday, something that was way overdue.

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