But perhaps the most intriguing element of Musk’s suddenly-powerful perch within Twitter is what it means for former President Donald Trump, who has been banned from the site since early 2021, in the wake of the January 6 riot at the US Capitol.

Musk has been an outspoken advocate of free speech on the web and critical of what he views as the silencing of some voices by social media sites. Because of that, some high-profile Republicans quickly moved to pressure Musk to reinstate Trump and others.

“Will the new majority shareholder return freedom of speech to Twitter,” asked Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who had a verified account suspended by Twitter earlier this year. “It will require courage bc the regime is heavily investing in a certain industry and threats will undoubtedly come. Yet the freedom of speech restored will enable us all to defeat them.”
Twitter said this week that no changes to its ban policy were immediately forthcoming and that Musk’s addition to the company’s board wouldn’t change that. “Our policy decisions are not determined by the board or shareholders, and we have no plans to reverse any policy decisions,” the company said in a statement.

Which, well, fine. At least for now.

But if Musk convinced Twitter to rethink its ban on Trump, it would throw the former President a major lifeline.

First consider the slow-moving disaster that is Truth Social, Trump’s much-touted conservative alternative to Twitter. Despite promises that the site would be fully operational by the end of March, the wait list to even get access to the site remains long and bogged down. Reuters reported earlier this week that two top executives at Truth Social had left their positions.
It’s long been clear — as I wrote when Trump first announced Truth Social — that the world, and even the conservative, pro-Trump world — were not clamoring for ANOTHER social media site targeted at them.

Trump is currently strapped to this sinking ship with no good way off. After all, you can’t pitch a company as fundamentally revolutionizing the way conservatives communicate with one another and then just walk away from it.

Unless, of course, Twitter reinstates you. While this would still require some rhetorical gymnastics to make sense given what Trump has said about both Twitter and Truth Social, he is not a man unwilling to contradict himself or go back on what he’s said in the past.

And there’s this: Trump clearly misses Twitter — badly.

His statements, which he releases with machine-gun-style frequency on a daily basis read — still — like his old tweets. A spokeswoman for the former President, Liz Harrington, screengrabs each of Trump’s statements and tweets them out from her own account.

Trump would leap at the chance to get back on the social media site — and regain his 88 million followers — since he a) has struggled to replicate the influence he had via the platform and b) knows how essential Twitter has been to building and maintaining his persona.

“I won,” Trump said shortly after his 2016 victory in an interview with CBS News. “I think that social media has more power than the money they spent, and I think maybe to a certain extent, I proved that.”

Trump hasn’t forgotten that lesson. And he’d love to be back on Twitter before the 2024 race rolls around.

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