Why Trump would probably return to Twitter if Elon Musk leaves.

Elon Musk, the world’s richest man and future Twitter owner, made waves Tuesday when he said he would allow former President Donald Trump back on the social media platform from which he was banned in January 2021.

“I think it was wrong to ban Donald Trump, I think it was a mistake,” Musk said, speaking at the Financial Times’ Future of the Car conference. “I would reverse the permanent ban.”

That is exactly what Trump and his supporters have long been calling for, and even demanding. Trump has said that he has no interest in coming back and instead will use his Twitter-cloning app, Truth Social.

“I’m not going back to Twitter,” the former president told CNBC in late April. “I like Elon Musk. I like him a lot. He is an excellent individual. We did a lot on Twitter when I was in the White House. I was disappointed in the way Twitter treated me.”

However, there are good reasons to hope that Trump will be able to reopen his Twitter account if given the chance. (Musk is not expected to take over for the next few months, and the sale of Twitter is not yet a done deal.) Trump built his political career using Twitter, along with cable news. Until the day it was banned, Twitter was an incredibly effective tool for Trump. He had some 67 million followers, making him the most popular world leader on the app. And so far, he hasn’t been able to rebuild an equally large or engaged audience since he was banned from Twitter and every other major social media platform. Of course, people also talk less about Trump these days because he’s no longer president, but that could change considering he’s expected to run for the Republican presidential nomination again.

Here’s why you should take Trump’s claims of being on Twitter with a grain of salt.

Trump still doesn’t have a good alternative to Twitter

Instead of using Twitter, Trump has said he will move his social media presence to Truth Social, the Twitter clone app he helped create.

Truth Social aims to be a “Big Top” social media platform rivaling Twitter and Facebook that fosters “open, free, and honest global conversation without discriminating political ideology.”

But in reality, the app is dominated almost exclusively by right-wing users and is off to a rocky start.

First, the launch of Truth Social was delayed several weeks. Then, when it launched at the end of February 2022, most users were unable to log in. The app amassed a waiting list of millions of people.

Truth Social’s CEO said the app would be “fully operational” by the end of March, but many still report being on the waiting list, and those who are using it so far report a clunky user experience.

The app’s financial viability is also in question, as its funding source, a merger between SPAC (a special purpose acquisition company, a shell company whose sole purpose is to buy other companies) and Trump Media & Technology Group, is at risk. as it is being investigated by federal regulators and faces a decline in valuation. Two top executives have also resigned from Truth Social in recent months, less than a year after joining the company.

And even if Truth Social solves its technical and financial challenges, it won’t have the same massive reach as Twitter or Facebook. Currently, Truth Social has an estimated 2 million users. Twitter, with 330 million users, is more than 150 times bigger. It also attracts users of all political persuasions, including journalists and influencers, who react to and amplify Trump’s messages, helping him stay in the news.

If you’re a politician like Trump, you’re going to have a much broader impact by sharing your thoughts on a major social media platform rather than a niche app where you’re preaching to the choir.

Aside from being banned, Trump has no real issues with Twitter

Until the day he was banned, Twitter was an incredibly effective tool for Trump to promote his political agenda in real time, without the intermediary of the press verifying his claims or analyzing his decisions.

The only real problem Trump had with Twitter was that he banned it.

Sure, Trump wasn’t happy about the fact that Twitter began in 2020 to label some of his many false and inflammatory tweets with red flags and fact checks, but even that didn’t stop him from tweeting incessantly.

In the past, Trump had often claimed that Silicon Valley was run by liberal elites who he said were censoring him and other conservatives on social media. But now, Trump has found an ally in Musk, who is increasingly appealing to the right and he is also siding with Trump by accusing Twitter’s current employee base of having a pro-liberal bias.

Trump and his supporters change their minds all the time

Lastly, Trump changes his mind all the time. Like many politicians, he changes his mind on issues like building a wall on the US-Mexico border and threatening to leave the Republican Party. And, in general, he’s tame to people who support him, as Musk is now, even if they haven’t been his biggest fans in the past.

Other conservative leaders, such as Fox News pundit Tucker Carlson, have quietly returned to Twitter since news of Musk’s inauguration, calling it a “turning point” in history, having previously criticized the company. Carlson was suspended from Twitter in March for tweeting that articles referring to US Assistant Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine, who is a transgender woman, as a “man” were true. The Fox News host and his supporters framed his suspension as an attack on free speech and refused to delete his tweet.

After Musk’s offer to buy Twitter hit the news in April, Carlson appears to have quietly deleted the tweet that kept him off the platform. His account has since been restored.

In the end, it would be in Trump’s interest to follow Carlon’s lead and put his Twitter issues aside. The former president is expected to launch his 2024 presidential bid soon, and he can take advantage of all the attention he can get.

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