Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk on Friday refuted reports claiming that former President Donald Trump had secretly urged him to acquire Twitter.
“This is false. I’ve had no communication, directly or indirectly, with Trump,” the tech billionaire wrote Friday in response to a New York Post article on Twitter.
The article to which Musk replied cited a Fox Business appearance by Devin Nunes, the CEO of Trump’s own social media platform, Truth Social.
“President Trump, basically before Elon Musk bought it, actually said to go and buy it because the goal of our company is really to build a community where people are in a family-friendly, safe environment,” Nunes said during a Wednesday appearance on “Varney & Co.”
“So people like Elon Musk doing what he’s doing, we’re definitely in favor of it,” the former GOP congressman said. “That’s why we encouraged Elon Musk to buy it, because someone has to continue to take on these tech tyrants.”
Nunes told Fox Business that Musk would build a Twitter “different” from its present form. “We’re all for it,” he said.
Musk denied communicating with Trump through direct or indirect means before his $44 billion purchase of the social media behemoth.
He also noted that the former president “has publicly stated that he will be exclusively on Truth Social.”
This is false. I’ve had no communication, directly or indirectly, with Trump, who has publicly stated that he will be exclusively on Truth Social.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 6, 2022
Musk’s purchase of Twitter in late April gave rise to speculation that Trump — a very active user before the platform permanently suspended him — could return to the social media network should the new owner lift the ban.
Twitter, joining Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, had banned the then-president following the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol incursion, citing “the risk of further incitement of violence.”
In an April 13 interview with Americano Media, Trump indicated he wasn’t likely to return to Twitter if his account was reinstated.
“We’re doing a big platform right now, so I probably wouldn’t have any interest,” he said, adding, “You know, Twitter’s become very boring. They’ve gotten rid of a lot of their good voices on Twitter — a lot of their conservative voices.”
The former president took a stronger stance on April 25, telling Fox News, “I am not going on Twitter, I am going to stay on TRUTH. 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.”
Trump’s permanent suspension raised concerns about the massive and skewed influence of Big Tech platforms over public discourse.
Musk has been a vocal critic of Twitter’s censorship and content moderation policies.
Would you like to see Trump return to Twitter?
The 50-year-old businessman holds the belief that free speech is “essential to a functioning democracy” and thus Twitter ought to “rigorously adhere” to free speech principles, functioning as a “de facto public town square.”
Before this purchase, Musk said that Twitter was failing to adhere to principles of free speech crucial for a “functioning democracy.”
Is a new platform needed?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 26, 2022
Unsurprisingly, news that he had struck a deal with Twitter’s board to take over the platform led to a meltdown, with Twitter’s senior lawyer, Vijaya Gadde, reportedly weeping in a meeting.