LONDON – Elon Musk said he will reverse Twitter's permanent ban of former President Donald Trump should the Tesla CEO conclude his deal to acquire the social media company for $44 billion.
Musk, speaking virtually at a Future of the Car summit hosted by the Financial Times, said Twitter's Trump ban was a “morally bad decision” and “foolish in the extreme.”
He said permanent bans of Twitter accounts should be rare and reserved for accounts that are scams or automated bots.
“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. “So I think this may end up being frankly worse than having a single forum where everyone can debate. I guess the answer is that I would reverse the permanent ban.”
Musk has repeatedly criticized Twitter's content moderation decisions, including the Trump ban, but had mostly avoided saying what he would do about Trump's account until he was pressed for more details Tuesday by Peter Campbell, a Financial Times automotive correspondent.
Twitter banned Trump's account in January 2021 for “incitement of violence” after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Trump has said that he had no intention of rejoining Twitter even if his account was reinstated, telling Fox News last month that he would focus on his own platform, Truth Social, which has been mired in problems since its launch this year.
“I am not going on Twitter. I am going to stay on Truth,” Trump told the network. “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.”
A Trump spokesperson did not immediately respond to Musk's remarks.
Twitter, Musk said Tuesday, currently has a strong bias to the left, largely because it is located in San Francisco. This prevents it from building trust in the rest of the U.S. and the world, he said: “It's far too random and I think Twitter needs to be much more evenhanded.”
Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Musk's comments.