Musk: ‘People have spoken; Trump will be reinstated; Vox Populi, Vox Dei’

Elon Musk tweeted Saturday night that “the people have spoken. Trump will be reinstated.”

The news came after a Musk Twitter poll found a 51.8% majority backed Trump’s return to Twitter. Former President Donald Trump, who vowed never to return after being banned after January 1. 6, has yet to make a statement.

“The people have spoken” Musk tweeted moments after polls closed before 8 p.m. Saturday night. “Trump will be reinstated. Vox Populi, Vox Dei.”

The @RealDonaldTrump account was visible shortly after 8 p.m. ET. His follower count was reset, but it was adding up quickly.

Trump’s account on Truth Social, his own social media platform, has yet to post a response.

Musk started a Twitter poll late Friday asking followers to vote on whether to restore Trump’s account to the platform, with final results Saturday night showing 51.8% voting “Yes” out of 15,085,458 votes.

“Vox Populi, Vox Dei” is a Latin expression which roughly means “the voice of the people, the voice of God”. He then tweeted that around 1 million people were voting per hour.

It’s unclear whether Trump would actually return to Twitter. An irrepressible tweeter before he was banned, Trump has said in the past that he would not join Twitter even if his account was reinstated. He relied on his own, much smaller social media site, Truth Social, which he launched after being blocked on Twitter.

And earlier on Saturday, in a video address at a meeting of a Republican Jewish group in Las Vegas, Trump said he was aware of Musk’s poll but saw “a lot of problems on Twitter,” according to Bloomberg.

“I hear we’re getting a big vote to come back on Twitter as well. I don’t see it because I don’t see any reason for it,” Trump said, Bloomberg reported. “It may do it, it may not,” he added, seemingly referring to Twitter’s recent internal upheaval.

The prospect of restoring Trump’s presence on the site follows Musk’s purchase last month of Twitter – an acquisition that sparked widespread concern that the billionaire owner will allow purveyors of lies and misinformation to thrive on the site. Musk has frequently expressed his belief that Twitter has become too restrictive for freewheeling speech.

The billionaire’s efforts to redesign the site were both quick and chaotic. Musk has laid off many of the company’s 7,500 full-time employees and countless contractors responsible for content moderation and other crucial responsibilities. His demand that the remaining employees commit to “extremely hard” work sparked a wave of resignations, including hundreds of software engineers.

Users reported seeing an increase in spam and scams on their feeds and in their direct messages, among other issues, following the mass layoffs and exodus of workers. Some programmers who were laid off or resigned this week warned that Twitter could soon unravel so badly that it could actually crash.

Trump lost access to Twitter two days after his supporters stormed the Capitol, shortly after the former president urged them to protest “peacefully and patriotically.” Twitter has taken down its account after Trump wrote a pair of tweets the company says casts further doubts on the legitimacy of the presidential election and increases the risks to Joe Biden’s presidential nomination.

After Jan. March 6, Trump was also kicked out of Facebook and Instagram, which are owned by Meta Platforms, and Snapchat. His ability to post videos to his YouTube channel has also been suspended. Facebook is set to reconsider suspending Trump’s account in January.

In a speech at an automotive conference in May, Musk claimed Trump’s Twitter ban was a “morally wrong decision” and “insane in the extreme.”

Earlier this month, Musk, who completed a $44 billion takeover of Twitter in late October, said the company wouldn’t let anyone who was kicked out of the site back until Twitter established procedures on how to do this, including forming a “content moderation board.”

Musk tweeted on Friday that the suspended Twitter accounts of comedian Kathy Griffin, Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson and conservative Christian news satire website Babylon Bee had been reinstated. He added that a decision on Trump had yet to be made. He also replied “no” when someone on Twitter asked him to reinstate conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ account.

In a tweet on Friday, the Tesla CEO described the company’s new content policy as “free speech, but not free access.”

He explained that a tweet deemed “negative” or containing “hate” would be allowed on the site but would only be visible to users who specifically searched for it. Those tweets would also be “demonetized, so no ads or other revenue for Twitter,” Musk said.

Information from Reuters was used in this report.

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