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Twitter suspends GOP Sen. Daines’ account over hunting photo

Sen. Steve Daines, right, greets Col. Anita Feugate Opperman, 341st Missile Wing commander, June 3, 2021, at his arrival to Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Elijah Van Zandt)
February 07, 2023

Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) was suspended from Twitter Tuesday morning over a photo of him hunting with his wife.

On Tuesday morning, Daines’ bio and all of his tweets were replaced with a message that his “account is temporarily unavailable because it violates the Twitter Media Policy.”

Daines’ account was suspended because his profile picture, which showed him and his wife posing with an animal they hunted, contained “graphic violence,” according to a screenshot posted by Axios senior political correspondent Josh Kraushaar.

The screenshot states that Daines can reinstate his account by deleting his profile picture.

Daines is the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. An NRSC spokesman said, “This is insane. Twitter should immediately reverse this suspension,” according to chief congressional correspondent Manu Raju.

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The profile photo showed Daines and his wife, Cindy, crouching by what appears to be a dead pronghorn antelope lightly spattered with blood.

Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) posted the photo and said, “Stop censoring our Montana way of life!”

Depictions of “severely injured or mutilated animals” has been prohibited from Twitter since at least May 2019, according to archived versions of its rules.

Such depictions are classified as “graphic content,” which is defined as “any media that depicts death, violence, medical procedures, or serious physical injury in graphic detail.” The policy notes that “exceptions may be made for documentary or educational content.”

Daines’ profile photo has often showcased hunting or fishing. In January, it showed him holding a caught fish by a body of water, and in December 2018, it showed him and Cindy in hunting gear, according to archived pages.

The Twitter account for Daines’ political campaign operation is still available.

This was a breaking news story. The details were periodically updated as more information became available.