Elon Musk has finally confirmed what many have long suspected: that he would allow Donald Trump back on Twitter.
In an interview with The Financial Times, Musk said that he would reinstate Trump when his deal to acquire Twitter closes. “I guess the answer is that I would reverse the perma ban,” Musk said in response to a question about whether he would allow the former president back on the platform. “Obviously, I don’t own Twitter yet. So this is not a thing that will definitely happen because what if I don’t own Twitter.”
Though Musk has long made it clear he disagrees with Twitter’s decision to ban Trump, it’s the first time he has explicitly said he would “reverse” it. “I think bans just fundamentally undermine trust in Twitter as a town square where everyone can voice their opinion,” Musk said. He added that permanent bans should be reserved for “accounts that are bots or spam scam accounts.”
Whether Musk would bring back Trump has been a major question and the company’s own executives have told employees they don’t know what direction Musk will take the company. Employees have been concerned that Musk could reverse many of the company’s policies around trust and safety and reverse progress they have made in combatting online abuse and misinformation.
Musk said that accounts that are “destructive to the world” could still be punished with temporary suspensions or having individual tweets deleted. But he said that he and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey believe that permanent bans “should be extremely rare.”
Twitter didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The company banned Trump in the wake of the January 6th insurrection, saying that the president had broken its rules around incitement of violence. Then-CEO Dorsey said at the time he believed permanent bans could set a “dangerous” precedent, but that the company had made the right decision in the face of “extraordinary and untenable circumstance.” On Tuesday, following Musk’s comments, Dorsey called Trump’s ban a “business decision.” “We should always revisit our decisions and evolve as necessary,” Dorsey said.
Musk was more explicit. He called the ban a “morally bad decision,” and cited the Trump-backed Truth Social as proof Twitter’s ban did not have the intended effect. The former president has stated that he would not rejoin Twitter even if his ban is lifted.
“He is now going to be on Truth Social, as will a large part of the right in the in the United States,” Musk said. “Banning Trump from Twitter didn’t end Trump’s voice. It will amplify it among the right and that is why it is morally wrong and flat out stupid.”
Updated with comments from Jack Dorsey.