Elon Musk says he’ll reactivate former President Donald Trump’s Twitter account after a web-based ballot
New Twitter owner and CEO Elon Musk announced he would reactivate former President Donald Trump’s Twitter account on Saturday.
Musk conducted a straw poll on the social media platform from late Friday, asking his followers to vote on whether to reinstate former US President Donald Trump’s account on the platform. The poll ran for 24 hours.
Musk concluded by tweeting, “The people have spoken. Trump is reinstated. Vox Populi, Vox Dei.” The latter phrase means “The voice of the people is the voice of God”.
Trump’s account appeared to be live on Twitter, but the former president had not made any new posts on the social media platform immediately after Musk lifted the ban.
Under previous ownership, Twitter issued a lifetime ban on President Donald Trump’s account in January 2021.
The former president’s account was first suspended from Twitter after the January 6, 2021 riot in the US Capitol, where his supporters rioted and disrupted lawmakers who were officially counting Electoral College votes.
Twitter tweeted at the time that the decision was made “due to the risk of further incitement to violence.”
After being banned from Twitter and other social platforms including Facebook, Trump started his own social media company.
For his part, Trump said earlier this year that he would not return to the social media platform even if Musk reversed the ban.
The former president told CNBC’s Joe Kernen in April after learning about the deal that while he liked Musk, he was “disappointed with the way I was treated by Twitter. I will not go back to Twitter.”
Musk had hinted at his decision to welcome Trump back to the platform back in May, shortly after he first agreed to buy the company. Speaking at FT Live’s Future of the Car conference, Musk said he would “reverse the permanent ban” if the deal went through.
“Permanent bans should be extremely rare and should be reserved for accounts that are bots or scam or spam accounts… I don’t think banning Donald Trump was right,” Musk said at the time. “I think that was a mistake because it alienated a large part of the country and didn’t result in Donald Trump having no voice.”
The move to bring Trump back to Twitter comes days after the former president announced his third campaign for the White House. Trump is currently under federal investigation for his handling of classified documents and his role in the massive effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Trump’s account, which is being reactivated, arrives weeks before the December runoff between Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., and Republican nominee Herschel Walker. Trump’s activities on Twitter could affect the race.
Conservative radio host Erick Erickson tweeted in response to the news, “There goes Georgia.” Erickson seemed to imply that Trump’s future tweets would hurt Walker’s chances.
Trump has welcomed Musk’s new ownership of Twitter. “I am very glad that Twitter is now in sane hands and is no longer run by radical left-wing crazies and lunatics who genuinely hate our country,” Trump wrote on his Truth Social account in October. Truth Social is a Twitter-like platform operated by Trump Media & Technology Group.
On Oct. 28, when Musk took the helm at Twitter, he wrote on the platform: “Twitter will form a council to moderate content with very different viewpoints.
Musk has not yet said if he has formed a Content Moderation Council or who participates in it.
The NAACP was one of the first civil rights groups to condemn Musk for allowing Trump back on the platform. Derrick Johnson, the CEO of the NAACP, urged all companies still working with Twitter to stop advertising following the decision to reinstate Trump.
“Any advertiser still funding Twitter should stop all advertising immediately,” Johnson said in a statement to CNBC. “If Elon Musk continues to operate Twitter like this, using garbage polls that do not represent the American people and the needs of our democracy, God help us all,” he added.
Johnson was among a group of civil rights activists who recently met with Musk, urging him to refuse the return of many users who had been banned from the platform.
Democratic leaders have worried for months that Musk would allow Trump to return to Twitter.
Members of President Joe Biden’s inner circle and party strategists were concerned that misinformation would surface on Twitter under Musk’s leadership and ahead of the 2024 presidential election, which could put Biden in a rematch against the former president, CNBC previously reported.
A White House spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.