Elon Musk said on Tuesday that Twitter was wrong to ban former President Donald Trump, and he would reinstate Trump’s Twitter account if his purchase of the platform goes through.
“Permanent bans should be extremely rare and really reserved for accounts that are bots, or scam, spam accounts… I do think it was not correct to ban Donald Trump. I think that was a mistake because it alienated a large part of the country and did not ultimately result in Donald Trump not having a voice,” Musk said during Financial Times’ Future of the Car event on Tuesday.
“I would reverse the perma ban,” Musk said, adding that he and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey share the view that Twitter should not have permanent bans at all.
Banning Trump, “was a morally bad decision, to be clear, and foolish in the extreme,” Musk clarified. “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.”
He noted that Trump has said publicly he won’t return to Twitter and will instead remain exclusively on TRUTH Social.
Musk said that the absence of permanent bans doesn’t given users a free ticket to say whatever they want, such as something illegal. He said a “timeout or temporary suspension” should be used in those instances, as well as removing individual tweets or making them invisible.
“Perma bans fundamentally undermine trust in Twitter as a town square where everyone can voice their opinion,” he explained.
Trump was banned from Twitter in January 2021 due to “the risk of further incitement of violence” days after the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol where Trump supporters were holding a rally in support of him and against the certification of Joe Biden’s presidency. It wasn’t until August that the FBI determined that the storming was not organized by Trump-supporting groups at all.
Current Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, who has been in the role just a few months, told employees last month that once Musk’s buyout deal closes, “we don’t know which direction the platform will go,” in regard to the possibility of reinstating Trump’s account.
Trump has said publicly multiple times that he won’t return to Twitter. His most recent remarks came April 25 when he told Fox News exclusively that while he believes Musk is “a good man,” he does not plan to return to the platform.
“I am not going on Twitter, I am going to stay on TRUTH,” Trump told the outlet. “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.”
On the same day of Trump’s remarks, Twitter had announced it accepted Musk’s $44 billion buyout deal.