Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk said Tuesday he would rescind Twitter’s decision to ban former US President Donald Trump, when his acquisition bid becomes successful.
Restoration of Trump’s account was highly anticipated following Musk’s move to buy Twitter. The world’s richest man had said his motive is to make the bird app censor-free and many believe that would mean restoring banned accounts such as Trump’s.
“Permanent bans should be extremely rare and really reserved for accounts that are bots, or scam, spam accounts… I do think it was not correct to ban Donald Trump,” Musk said at FT Live’s Future of the Car conference. “I think that was a mistake, because it alienated a large part of the country and did not ultimately result in Donald Trump not having a voice.”
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“I would reverse the permanent ban,” added Musk. “I don’t own Twitter yet. So this is not like a thing that will definitely happen, because what if I don’t own Twitter?”
Trump, like some other Republicans, were permanently suspended on Twitter for breaking the company’s policies. The former president was banned for using his account to incite the Jan. 6 2021 Capitol riot that resulted in the death of more than eight Americans. Twitter had justified its decision to kick Trump on the ground that it would stop him from using it to incite further violence. It said it “was the right decision.”
Twitter’s decision drew a mix of praise and condemnation. Other social media platforms such as Facebook took the same step. Trump claimed the Nov. presidential election was “stolen” after he lost his relection bid to President Joe Biden. Twitter was Trump’s preferred social media platform, where he had more than 80 million followers.
With Musk’s acquisition bid, other banned Republicans like Majorie Taylor Greene have been restored, signaling that Trump’s account may be lifted soon.
However, Trump has said that he has no intention to return to Twitter after being banned for more than a year. He had launched his own social media outlet called Truth Social, where he said he’d be using hence.
“No, I won’t be going back on Twitter,” Trump told CNBC’s Joe Kernen. “I will be on Truth Social within the week. It’s on schedule. We have a lot of people signed up. I like Elon Musk. I like him a lot. He’s an excellent individual. We did a lot for Twitter when I was in the White House. I was disappointed by the way I was treated by Twitter. I won’t be going back on Twitter,” Trump said.
Trump supporters have thronged to Truth Social since launch, buoying the company’s value. Last month, Truth Social ranked number one above Twitter on Apple Store’s apps’ chart, a sign that it may gather as much followers for Trump as he had on Twitter.
Musk had in April called “Truth Social” a terrible name and suggested that the app be named “Trumpet.” He said the social media platform exists only because Twitter censored free speech.
While Trump has publically stated that he is not returning to Twitter, people close to him say they expect him to return to the app, especially as it would be a major boost to his 2024 presidential ambition.
Per CNBC, White House officials and Democratic strategists have worried about a Musk Twitter takeover ahead of the 2024 presidential election. Some members of the Biden administration had become increasingly concerned that Musk would allow Trump and other Republican operatives who were banned from the platform to return.
Twitter said its ban policy is based on the need to promote healthy conversation on its platform.