Donald Trump on Saturday said he had no interest in returning to Twitter even as a small majority voted yes to reinstating the former U.S. president, who was suspended from the social media service for instigating violence, in a poll created by new owner Elon Musk.
Slightly more than 15 million Twitter users took part in the poll with 51.8% voting in favor of reinstatement.
“The people have spoken. Trump will be reinstated,” Musk tweeted.
Trump’s Twitter account, which had more than 88 million followers before he was suspended on Jan. 8, last year, started accumulating followers and had almost 100,000 followers by 10 pm ET Saturday. Several users earlier on reported being unable to follow the reactivated account on Saturday evening.
Trump had seemed less than eager earlier in the day.
“I don’t see any reason for it,” the former president said via video when asked whether he intended to rejoin Twitter by a panel at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual leadership meeting.
He said he would remain on his new platform Truth Social, the app built by his Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG) startup, which he said had better user engagement compared to Twitter and was doing “phenomenally well”.
Twitter would not reply to a request for comment.
Trump, who on Tuesday announced a bid to return to the White House in 2024, applauded Musk and said he had always liked him. But Trump also said Twitter suffered from fake accounts, bots and that the problems it encountered were “incredible”.
Musk first said in May he wanted to overturn the ban on Trump, and the timing of any return by Trump was carefully monitored – and feared – by most of Twitter’s advertisers.
The billionaire has since sought to assure users and advertisers that such a decision would be reached with consideration by a content moderation council comprising of people with “widely diverse viewpoints” and no account reactivations would take place before the council convened.
He also said Twitter would not reactivate banned accounts until there was a “clear process for doing so.”
But this week, Musk reinstated comedian Kathy Griffin, who had been suspended for changing her profile name to “Elon Musk” which breached his new rule against impersonation without specifying it was a parody account. There has been no recent information about the process or the moderation council.
No Reason To Return
A no-show by Trump could allay concerns among top advertisers, who are already unnerved by Musk’s radical reshaping of Twitter.
He has cut the workforce by 50% and severely axed the company’s trust and safety team, which is in charge of preventing the spread of misinformation and harmful content. These actions and Musk’s tweeting have forced major firms to pause advertising on the site as they track how the platform handles hate speech.
On Saturday, Bloomberg reported Twitter could lay off more employees in its sales and partnership divisions, citing anonymous sources, just days after a mass departure of engineers.
If Trump returned to Twitter, the move would call into question his commitment to Truth Social, which was made available on Apple’s App Store in February and Google’s Play Store last month. Trump has some 4.57 million followers on the app.
Truth Social has been Trump’s primary source of direct communication with his followers since he started posting on the app frequently in May. He has used Truth Social to endorse his allies, condemn opponents, and defend his reputation amid legal scrutiny from federal, state, and congressional investigators.
His agreement with the company, however, allows Trump to engage broadly on other platforms. Trump is required to give Truth Social a six-hour exclusive on any post – but is free to post “political messaging, political fundraising or get-out-the-vote efforts” on any site, at any time, according to a May SEC filing.