Elon Musk said Tuesday that he will reverse former President Trump’s ban from Twitter if his acquisition of the platform is completed.
“I think it was a morally bad decision, to be clear, and foolish in the extreme,” said Musk, the CEO of Tesla, while speaking at the Financial Times’s “Future of the Car” event.
“I do think it was not correct to ban Donald Trump. I think that was a mistake,” he added. “It alienated a large part of the country and did not ultimately result in Donald Trump not having a voice.”
Twitter permanently banned Trump shortly after the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol, saying that the then-president’s posts on the platform could encourage more violence.
Musk and Twitter agreed to a deal for the Tesla CEO to buy all outstanding shares of the company in a deal worth roughly $44 billion late last month.
Some civil society groups warned early on that Musk’s purchase of the platform could mean Trump’s return given the tech billionaire’s stated commitment to free speech absolutism.
Trump said shortly after Musk’s deal to buy Twitter was confirmed that he would not return to the platform even if invited back on.
The former president, who boasted over 80 million followers on Twitter, has said that he will instead stay on the social media platform launched by his media company, Truth Social.
Trump has recently become more active on that platform, sharing “truths” with his 2.66 million followers there.
Despite his promises to stay on Truth Social, however, the allure of the reach offered by Twitter, where Trump frequently sparred with critics and boosted misinformation about the 2020 election and COVID-19, could convince the former president to make a return.
Musk’s deal to purchase Twitter may take several months to complete, given that shareholders still have to accept the proposal to buy their shares at $54.20. The deal could also be held up by a reported Federal Trade Commission probe.
In the interim, the company’s current leadership has said they will continue to run it as they were before the proposed acquisition.
Updated at 1:57 p.m.
Author: Chris Mills Rodrigo