On Tuesday, Elon Musk said he would restore the Twitter account of Donald Trump if his planned purchase of the social media and microblogging platform is successful.
During an online event hosted by the Financial Times, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX said that it was “not correct” to ban Trump and called it “a mistake.” Musk claimed that banning Trump from Twitter ended up amplifying the former President, “It alienated a large part of the country and did not ultimately result in Donald Trump not having a voice.”
Musk, who has referred to himself as a “free speech absolutist,” added, “He is now going to be on Truth Social as will a large part of the right in the United States and so I think this could end up being frankly worse than having a single forum where everyone can debate.”
Furthermore, Musk said that permanently banning Trump from Twitter, “was a morally bad decision, to be clear, and foolish in the extreme.”
That Musk refers to the banning of Donald Trump from social media platforms in January 2021 as a matter of “free speech” or protecting the public’s right to political debate is patently false. Trump’s Twitter account was terminated—as well as his accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok and YouTube—because, as president of the United States, he was engaged in an ongoing conspiracy to remain office despite losing the 2020 presidential election by more than 7 million votes.
The high point of this conspiracy to overthrow the US Constitution took place on January 6, 2021, when a right-wing mob—including fascist, neo-Nazi and paramilitary groups—was mobilized by Trump and other elected Republican officials to assault the US Capitol and stop the congressional certification of Joe Biden as president.
On January 6 itself, Trump tweeted 25 times, pushing the stolen election conspiracy theory and, among other things, claiming falsely that Vice President Mike Pence had the authority to stop the certification of Biden as president by sending the votes, “back to the states.”
Meanwhile, Trump has since continued with his fascistic plotting against the public by maintaining the lie that Biden is not a legitimate president, and that the election was stolen by the Democrats.
During his online appearance Tuesday, Musk said that Twitter should not permanently ban any accounts unless they are “bots or spam/scam accounts, where there’s just no legitimacy to the account at all.” He said that Twitter founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey shares his opinion that permanent bans, “undermine trust in Twitter as a town square where everyone can voice their opinion.”
Dorsey tweeted in response, “I do agree. There are exceptions (CSE, illegal behaviour, spam or network manipulation, etc.), but generally permanent bans are a failure of ours and don’t work, which I wrote about here after the event (and called for a resilient social media protocol).” CSE stands for Child Sexual Exploitation.
But in the days after the January 6 insurrection in Washington D.C., Dorsey said the ban was “the right decision for Twitter” which was in “an extraordinary and untenable circumstance” that forced the company to focus on reducing the real threat of “offline harm.”
Musk also said at the FT forum that, if he takes control of the company, Twitter will continue to use tools against those who are tweeting things “that are wrong and bad” by either deleting them or making them “invisible.”
Although he did not specify exactly what he meant, he said tweets deemed “illegal” or “otherwise just destructive to the world” would be made to “have very limited traction.” These are the same techniques of shadow-banning that Twitter currently takes against left-wing and socialist opposition to the US-NATO war drive in Ukraine against Russia.
Twitter’s board of directors accepted an offer from Musk on April 25 to purchase the platform for $44 billion—or $54.20 per share—and remove it from the stock market, making it his privately owned company.
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal on May 5, Musk added 19 more investors and another $7.14 billion to the financing of his offer including $1.9 billion from Prince al-Waleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia and $1 billion from Larry Ellison, co-founder of Oracle Corporation.
Musk, the world’s wealthiest individual, worth approximately $240 billion, claimed at one point that he does not care if he makes any money on the Twitter deal. However, even with the additional financing from other wealthy individuals, Musk still has to pledge Tesla shares worth $31.5 billion to cover a $6.25 billion margin loan needed to complete the purchase.
Musk was asked by the FT moderator on Tuesday, if Trump were to be let back on to Twitter and he did something similar to what he had done on January 6, would he be back in the “sin bin?” Musk refused to answer the question directly saying only that Trump had stated he was not planning to come back to Twitter. He concluded his comments by saying the Trump ban was “morally wrong and flat out stupid.”