Indiana U.S. Rep. Jim Banks, a Republican, deliberately misgendered Assistant Secretary of Health Rachel Levine on Twitter, leading to the abrupt suspension of his social media account.
At issue is his Tweet about Sec. Levine assuming the role of a four-star uniformed service officer, saying an historic honor has been taken by a "man."
Twitter announced in a statement, "The account references has been temporarily locked for violating our Hateful Conduct Policy. The account owner is required to delete the violative Tweet before regaining access to their account."
Sec. Levine is a member of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (USPHS), which is uniformed branch of the armed services. Having four stars, she is equal in rank to a naval or coast guard admiral. The U.S. Surgeon General serves under her with three stars, equal in rank to a vice admiral.
Banks said the suspension was unfair censorship and that he is a victim of writing a "statement of fact."
"Big tech must be held accountable," he angrily posited.
The USPHS was unknown to most Americans until the coronavirus pandemic when it assumed its purpose: leading the nation through a national health emergency. The noncombatant corps was founded in 1889 and currently has over 6,500 officers in uniform.
Apart from its national health emergency purpose, the USPHS also provides healthcare services to underserved indigenous Americans and works with the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to protect Americans from harm.
During a national defense emergency, the U.S. President may order the USPHS to serve as a military branch.