Donald Trump wants to go back to the White House and can tweet again. Musk is giving back the once-influential Twitter account. Will Trump return?
Twitter has unblocked former US President Donald Trump’s account, which has been suspended since early 2021. Shortly after announcing his renewed candidacy for the presidency, the Republican regained access to a major online platform for the first time. It was initially unclear whether he would make use of it. Because Trump had repeatedly emphasized that he would rather stay with his in-house service Truth Social – even if he were allowed to return to Twitter.
Minutes after the result, Trump’s profile was back
The ex-president was banned from Twitter and other online platforms after expressing sympathy for his rampaging supporters who violently stormed the Capitol in Washington on January 6, 2021. He had previously used these channels for months to spread his tale that his win against Democrat Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election was stolen through fraud. The platform operators feared at the time that Trump’s posts could lead to further violence.
But the new Twitter owner Elon Musk has never made a secret of the fact that he considers the decision at the time to be fundamentally wrong. Musk tweeted Friday that a 24-hour poll was launched among users of the service to vote on whether Trump’s profile should be restored. Just a few minutes after the result was announced – a slim majority had voted for the end of the ban – Trump’s profile was back. The last tweet there is from January 8, 2021. Trump announced that he would not attend Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Millions of new followers
Trump’s account, which once had more than 80 million followers on Twitter and sometimes upset half the world with its unpredictable messages, has had its subscriber count reset to zero. Shortly after it was activated, the ” @realDonaldTrump ” profile was followed by 1.4 million Twitter users again – then suddenly it was only around 700,000, and then it gradually went up again. The reason for the fluctuations initially remained unclear. As of this writing, Trump has 52.1 million followers — you can literally watch the number go up.
Trump recently had around 4.6 million subscribers to the Twitter copy Truth Social. He can use a larger platform with more reach in view of the Republican nomination for the next presidential election. The 76-year-old, who had long dominated the party at will and marginalized critics, recently lost influence in his own ranks.
Trump under political pressure
In the November 8 general and gubernatorial elections, voters rejected several candidates who had been heavily supported by him. Overall, the Republicans did not achieve the overwhelming triumph that many pollsters expected: They only narrowly won the majority in the House of Representatives and the Democrats were able to defend control of the Senate.
Since then, the voices of prominent Republicans have been increasing, calling for the Trump era to be finally ended in order to reconnect with more moderate voters beyond the hard core of his supporters. The newly re-elected governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, is considered a promising rival who could pose a threat to Trump in the race for the Republican nomination in the 2024 presidential election.
“The people have spoken”
At this very moment, Musk, who recently very openly expressed his sympathy for the political views of Trump’s Republicans, is giving the politically stricken ex-president the Twitter account back.
“The people have spoken,” the tech billionaire justified his decision after the end of the survey. A narrow majority of 51.8 percent voted in favor of Trump’s return. However, the survey was not representative: around 15 million users took part in Musk’s 24-hour survey, while the service has more than 230 million daily active users according to the latest available information.
Musk has problems of his own that a Trump return could help with. According to him, after the costly Twitter takeover, advertising revenues collapsed. Companies fear that given the unrestricted freedom of speech Musk has promised, promoting their brands could end up alongside offensive tweets. The chaotic introduction of a new subscription system was stopped after the fuss about loud, deceptively real-looking accounts from brands and celebrities. Now, however, the controversy surrounding the restoration of Trump’s account alone is drawing attention to Twitter.