Twitter suspended Michael Ward, the husband of Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward Wednesday morning for “multiple, severe violations,” according to his wife. She tweeted, “Weird. He’s not a terrorist or a tyrant. He’s a doctor, dad, & veteran. That must be it!”

Michael Ward told The Arizona Sun Times, “I want to know whether they’re targeting me because I opposed COVID-19 restrictions, or because I am a conservative physician, or because I’m a retired colonel who opposes the Biden administration.” He believes he was probably singled out because of who he’s married to. He said Twitter first suspended him on Jan. 7, 2021, his first account, @JimmyTheMole01, because he retweeted former President Donald Trump after the Jan. 6 protest at the U.S. Capitol. He was never given a warning, temporary suspension, or second chance when he tried to appeal, the account was permanently banned.

He already had a second account, @AtlasAllianceAZ; he didn’t start a new one, which would violate Twitter’s rules, and so he continued using that one. He doesn’t tweet very much and most of his tweets are merely retweets. However, Twitter again permanently banned him a few days ago, again with no explanation or response to his appeal. He said he just wants to be treated fairly, and the way Twitter went about it compared to others was clearly not.

Twitter briefly suspended Kelli Ward’s account in July 2020 – the week before the primary election – for a week because she shared a COVID-19-related video from America’s Frontline Doctors about the benefits of hydroxychloroquine as a prevention measure. Ward is also a doctor. Twitter also suspended the account of Donald Trump Jr. for 24 hours for sharing the same video.

The Wards live in Mohave County, and the Mohave County Central Committee Twitter account was restricted on April 23, with little explanation why. When people go to that page, they must click on a warning that says they are accessing a restricted page. Jeanne Kentch, the chair who runs the account, told The Sun Times she hasn’t been able to post anything on it since then. When she tries, she gets messages warning her that she might be posting spam. Twitter told her it was because the account “may be compromised by a user or a service not associated with Twitter.”

Kentch has not tweeted since March, but one of her Twitter lists is composed of a feed of elected officials, candidates, and other politicos from the area, which runs on the Mohave GOP website. The accounts include Kelli Ward, Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ-04), State Representative Leo Biasiucci (R-Lake Havasu), and other leading Arizona conservatives who have come under fire frequently from the Left.

Last summer, Twitter permanently suspended two accounts that supported the independent Maricopa County ballot audit. One of the accounts, @ArizonaAudit, was the official account for the audit, and @AuditWarRoom was the other one. @AuditWarRoom tweeted several times before the suspension that Twitter was shadowbanning and censoring the account. Voices and Votes, a nonprofit organization formed by OAN reporters Christina Bobb and Chanel Rion to raise money for the audit, was also suspended.

Bobby Piton, a mathematician and managing partner at Pre-Active Investments, LLC, who testified during the hearing discussing the results of the Arizona audit that as many as 306,000 “fake people” voted in the Arizona election, was permanently suspended by Twitter later that day. He said during his testimony, “If I was an executive at a publicly traded company, I would never sign that because I risk jail time and having all my money taken from me in lawsuits,” he added. “I believe [the numbers] are fraudulent based on the data. … I’d be willing to put my life on it, I’m that sure about the analysis.”

However, with tech billionaire and self-described “free-speech absolutist” Elon Musk purchasing Twitter, many of the banned accounts may likely return. Prominent conservatives are already noticing large jumps in their followers overnight. Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis gained over 200,000 accounts, Fox News host Tucker Carlson picked up nearly 150,000, and Donald Trump Jr. over 200,000. Conservative talk show host Dana Loesch speculated, “It’s too soon for Musk to have done this but I’m wondering if something was changed by those seeking to minimize their fingerprint ahead of potential transparency.”

Many prominent conservatives around the country have been banned from Twitter. Former President Donald Trump was permanently suspended after the Jan. 6, 2020 protest at the U.S. Capitol. Twitter permanently suspended the personal account of Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Green (R-GA-14) in January for tweeting about COVID-19.

A study followed 9,000 politically engaged Twitter users for several months around the 2020 election, half Republican and half Democrat, and found that 7.7 percent of the Democrats were suspended at some point compared to 35.6 percent of Republicans.

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Rachel Alexander is a reporter at The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Rachel on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Michael Ward” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.