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Elon Musk says he would lift Twitter ban on Trump

Tesla CEO says the move, made following the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol, was a ‘morally bad decision’ and ‘foolish in the extreme’

Tesla and SpaceX Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk talks with then US president Donald Trump after viewing the SpaceX flight to the International Space Station, at Kennedy Space Center,  on May 30, 2020, in Cape Canaveral, Florida. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Tesla and SpaceX Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk talks with then US president Donald Trump after viewing the SpaceX flight to the International Space Station, at Kennedy Space Center, on May 30, 2020, in Cape Canaveral, Florida. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Elon Musk said Tuesday he will reverse Twitter’s permanent ban of former US president Donald Trump if the Tesla CEO follows through with his plan to buy the social media company.

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.

Twitter banned Trump’s account in January 2021 for “incitement of violence” following the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol.

“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 added that his distaste for permanent bans is shared by Twitter co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey.

Trump had previously said that he had no intention of rejoining Twitter even if his account was reinstated, telling Fox News last month that he would instead focus on his own platform, Truth Social, which has been mired in problems since its launch earlier 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 a request for comment in response to Musk’s remarks.

The Tesla chief’s $44-billion deal to buy Twitter must still get the backing of shareholders and regulators, but he has voiced enthusiasm for less content moderation and fewer bans.

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