Donald Trump may return to Twitter, can he resist? – Copyright AFP Anthony WALLACE
Donald Trump has apparently refused to return to Twitter, but now that he is embarking on a new presidential campaign, will he be able to resist? All eyes were on his account on Sunday for any activity after the platform’s new owner, Elon Musk, reinstated it.
Twitter had issued a “permanent” ban against Trump in the wake of the January 6, 2021 attack by his supporters on the US Capitol, as he sought to overturn his election loss to Democrat Joe Biden.
But Musk, who describes himself as a “free speech absolutist,” posted a poll on Twitter on Saturday in which the majority supported reinstating the former president, and the platform’s new owner wasted no time in acting. consequently.
As of 11:30 am EST (1630 GMT) on Sunday, the revived account of the “45th President of the United States of America,” complete with his blue “verified” check mark, had not posted any new messages.
The last message dates from January 8, 2021, when the billionaire said he would not attend Biden’s inauguration ceremony.
On the same day, Twitter banned the account, which was followed by some 88.8 million people, citing the risk of further incitement to violence.
– Campaign links –
Trump’s followers numbered 86.6 million as of Sunday, though it was unclear how many of them were real and how many were bots, while the number of accounts he followed went from zero to 49.
The account also linked to a campaign website seeking donations for Trump’s 2024 presidential run.
It was unclear who linked the website to the account or what the changes in the number of followers mean: Mass layoffs in recent weeks under Musk have decimated Twitter’s communications team.
Trump enjoyed using Twitter as a mouthpiece during his presidency, posting policy announcements, attacking his political rivals, and communicating with his supporters.
More than 15 million votes were cast in Musk’s poll (Twitter has 237 million daily users), with 51.8 percent in favor of reinstating Trump’s controversial profile and 48.2 percent against.
Musk asked for a simple “yes” or “no” answer to the “Reinstate former President Trump” statement.
On Saturday, while the poll was still running, Trump posted a link on Truth Social, the Twitter alternative he founded, urging his 4.6 million followers to vote for him.
But he also wrote: “don’t worry, we’re not going anywhere. Truth Social is special!”
And, appearing via video at a meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas, Trump said he welcomed the poll and was a fan of Musk, but appeared to reject any return to the platform.
“I don’t see it, because I don’t see any reason for it,” he said.
– ‘Best Choices’ –
Trump posts often on Truth Social, sometimes dozens of times a day, and in recent months has engaged more brazenly than ever with extremist content, including dozens of posts by promoters of the QAnon conspiracy theory.
Though its reach there is relatively small, experts say the misinformation it spreads ripples across the Internet.
His rejoining Twitter’s much larger and more mainstream platform comes as his announcement that he will run for president again in 2024 is not being greeted with the kind of enthusiasm that marked his previous candidacies.
He announced his candidacy just after the midterm elections, in which he had endorsed hundreds of candidates.
But the Democrats did unexpectedly well and the predicted “red wave” from the Republicans failed to materialize, prompting a backlash against Trump and extremism in the GOP.
Trump’s former vice president, Mike Pence, himself a potential candidate for the 2024 Republican nomination, told CBS on Sunday that there would be “better options” than his former boss.