Millions of Twitter users take up Musk’s offer to vote on reinstating Trump

New CEO of social media platform gleeful as over 12 million weigh in; 52% in favor of lifting ban, though not clear whether Musk will follow through

FILE - In this June 27, 2019, file photo, then US president Donald Trump's Twitter feed is shown on a computer, in New York. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)
FILE - In this June 27, 2019, file photo, then US president Donald Trump's Twitter feed is shown on a computer, in New York. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)

SAN FRANCISCO, United States — Elon Musk expressed excitement Saturday as he watched votes pour in on a Twitter poll he has posted on whether to readmit Donald Trump to the messaging platform.

“Reinstate former President Trump,” the billionaire Twitter owner posted Friday, with a chance to vote either yes or no.

As of Saturday evening, 52.4 percent of over 12 million responses were in favor of a return of the former president, who was banned from Twitter in January 2021 for his role in last year’s attack on the US Capitol by a mob of his followers seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

Musk said the poll was drawing a million answers one way or another per hour.

“Fascinating to watch Twitter Trump poll!” Musk said Saturday morning in the latest blast of tweets from the hard-charging new owner of the one-to-many messaging platform.

There was no indication that the mercurial boss of Space-X and Tesla would adhere to the results of the ad hoc poll.

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk arrives on the red carpet for the Axel Springer media award even in Berlin on December 1, 2020. (Hannibal Hanschke/Pool Photo via AP, File)

But on Friday, Musk also posted a Latin adage suggesting that the decision would be up to Twitter users: “Vox Populi, Vox Dei” (“The voice of the people is the voice of God”).

He has done similar polls in the past, asking followers last year if he should sell stock in his electric car company Tesla. Following that poll, he sold more than $1 billion in shares.

Trump, who reveled in using Twitter as a mouthpiece, was followed by more than 88 million users.

US President Donald Trump’s Twitter account is seen after its permanent suspension by the platform on January 9, 2021 (Twitter screenshot: used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

He has said he will not return to the popular platform but would instead remain on his own network, Truth Social, launched after he was banned from Twitter.

Musk, also the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, has come under fire for radical changes at the California-based firm, which he bought less than a month ago for $44 billion.

Since then, he fired half of Twitter’s 7,500 staff, scrapped a work-from-home policy and imposed long hours, all while his attempts to overhaul the company faced backlash and delays.

Twitter headquarters is seen in San Francisco, October 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

His stumbling attempts to revamp user verification with a controversial subscription service led to a slew of fake accounts and pranks, and prompted major advertisers to step away from the platform.

On Friday, Musk appeared to be pressing on with his plans and reinstated previously banned accounts, including that of comedian Kathy Griffin, which had been taken down after she impersonated him on the site.

The company’s offices were locked down Friday and hundreds of employees quit rather than yield to Musk’s demands that they resign themselves to working long, grueling days at the new Twitter.

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