OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Earlier this week, billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk made headlines once again when he announced he would move forward with his bid to purchase Twitter. In the days since, there has been a great deal of speculation that the man who was once the most influential among all Twitter users — former President Donald Trump — could return to the platform where he once had some 90 million followers.
In recent months, however, Trump has said that he had no intention of coming back to the platform even if Musk offered him the chance to return, saying instead that he would remain on his platform, Truth Social. But that hasn’t stopped the speculation that Trump not only may return to Twitter due to the lure of being able to reach millions more again but that it could actually happen before the midterm elections, CNN reported.
The outlet added: Twitter said Tuesday it was intent on closing the deal, opening the possibility that Musk could take over the company within weeks if the deal is completed. The company’s board and shareholders had previously approved the deal, but uncertainties remain. Twitter will have to decide how to play ball with Musk, taking into account his prior waffling on the deal — a negotiation process that could come down to how to ensure the world’s richest man will actually cut a check this time.
If the deal goes through, it could soon return to Trump what was once his preferred social media platform. Trump, whose tweets as the president often drove the agenda in Washington, DC, had almost 90 million followers before he was banned permanently by the platform two days after the January 6 attack on the Capitol. (It’s unclear whether Trump would automatically regain his followers if unbanned.) Twitter said it made the decision “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.”
Talk of a Trump return actually began earlier this year after Musk surprised his supporters and detractors alike by purchasing a 9.2 percent stake in Twitter, making him the largest shareholder at the time.
“Musk owns 73.5 million Twitter shares, valuing his passive stake in the company at up to $2.9 billion based on the stock’s Friday close. The shares are held by the Elon Musk Revocable Trust,” Newsmax reported at the time.
“Musk, a prolific user of Twitter, has over 80 million followers on the site since joining in 2009 and has used the platform to make several announcements, including teasing a go-private deal for Tesla that landed him in regulatory scrutiny. He, however, has been critical of the social media platform and its policies of late and has said the company is undermining democracy by failing to adhere to free speech principles,” the report added.
Now that @ElonMusk is Twitter’s largest shareholder, it’s time to lift the political censorship.
Oh… and BRING BACK TRUMP!
— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) April 4, 2022
Will the new majority shareholder return freedom of speech to Twitter?
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.@elonmusk
— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene🇺🇸 (@RepMTG) April 4, 2022
.@ElonMusk is now the largest shareholder of Twitter.
Time to get this platform back to its former glory.
Step one – bring back President Trump!
Step two – give everyone who has been banned a second chance.
Step three – end all forms of political and other censorship.
— Errol Webber (@ErrolWebber) April 4, 2022
In May, Musk argued, “Banning Trump from Twitter didn’t end Trump’s voice, it will amplify it among the right and this is why it’s morally wrong and flat out stupid.” The Tesla and SpaceX founder and CEO has also argued that he does not favor permanent bans from social media in a broad sense, meaning that figures who have been banned in the past could also have an opportunity to return to Twitter.
Twitter founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey agreed with Musk at the time. He said that it was a “business decision” when he banned Trump and it “shouldn’t have been.” Not long afterward, Trump began posting on his Truth Social platform.
“I am not going on Twitter, I am going to stay on Truth,” Trump told Fox News in April after Musk’s stock purchase. He added, “I hope Elon buys Twitter because he’ll make improvements to it and he is a good man, but I am going to be staying on Truth.”
CNN adds: “Trump’s potential return to Twitter comes just a few months before he could also be allowed to return to Meta’s Facebook and Instagram. Unlike Twitter, which said it had permanently banned Trump, Meta (formerly Facebook) said it would review its ban after two years — meaning the former president could be returning to its platforms as soon as January 2023, just as the next presidential race is set to begin.’