(NEXSTAR) – Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Tuesday that he would “reverse the permaban” instated by Twitter on former President Donald Trump after the riots at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Musk made the comments during an interview at the Financial Times’ Future of the Car event in London, calling the ban a “morally bad decision and foolish in the extreme.”
The 50-year-old billionaire was careful to note that his $44 billion acquisition bid of Twitter is still in the process, and isn’t yet a done deal.
Musk added that he is against all permanent bans on the platform and said the ban against Donald Trump alienated “a large part of the country.” The world’s richest man added that former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey had the same opinion of permanent bans.
Twitter banned Trump’s account in the wake of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, saying on Jan. 8 that the decision was taken “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.”
After news broke of Musk’s successful bid to buy Twitter, Trump told Fox News that he would not return to Twitter and vowed to stay on Truth social, the former president’s new social media platform.
“He has publicly stated that he will not be coming back to Twitter, and that he will only be on Truth Social” Musk said at the Future of the Car summit. “The point that I’m trying to make, that is perhaps not getting across, is that banning Trump from Twitter didn’t end Trump’s voice, it will amplify it among the right, and this is why it is morally wrong and flat out stupid.”
Whether or not Trump ultimately chooses not to return to Twitter, where his following could be counted in the tens of millions of users, remains to be seen.
Nexstar reached out to a representative from Trump’s office but did not immediately receive a reply.
Musk has long been a vocal, self-described free speech absolutist, which he has stated was his motivation to take over what he has called the “de-facto town square.” Groups like Human Rights Watch have expressed concern for the safety of the platform’s users should Musk make changes to Twitter that reduce content moderation.
Before the deal goes through, however, shareholders will need to agree to selling their shares at the proposed $54.20, and a potential Federal Trade Commission probe could stall the sale.