Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, speaks to media representatives at the Tesla Gigafactory construction site In Grünheide near Berlin, September 3, 2020.
Julian Stähle | picture alliance via Getty Images
Elon Musk on Friday flatly denied a claim by the head of ex-President Donald Trump’s new social media company that Trump had encouraged Musk’s bid to buy Twitter.
“This is false,” Musk tweeted in reply to a New York Post article about that claim by Trump Media & Technology Group CEO Devin Nunes.
“I’ve had no communication, directly or indirectly, with Trump, who has publicly stated that he will be exclusively on Truth Social,” wrote Musk, head of Tesla and SpaceX.
Nunes, during a televised appearance Wednesday on Fox Business, said that Trump’s social media app, Truth Social, was “all for” Musk’s move to buy Twitter and take it private with a $44 billion offer — a somewhat eyebrow-raising claim since Twitter is a competitor to Truth Social.
“President Trump, basically before Elon Musk bought it, actually said to go and buy it because you know the goal of our company is really to build a community where people are in a family friendly, safe environment,” said Nunes, a former Republican congressman from California, during the appearance.
Twitter banned Trump, who had been an obsessive user of the platform, in January 2021 for what the company said was the “risk of further incitement of violence.”
The ban followed the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot by a mob of Trump supporters who disrupted the certification of President Joe Biden’s election.
Trump announced plans to launch Truth Social as a competitor to Twitter last fall, and said his social media company would become publicly traded through a deal with the so-called blank-check company Digital World Acquisition.
On April 25, Twitter accepted Musk’s offer to buy the company, which is contingent on approval from shareholders and regulators.
Nunes, during his interview on Fox Business, suggested that Trump’s purported urging of Musk to buy Twitter dovetailed with the mission of Truth Social.
“That’s why we encouraged Elon Musk to buy it, because someone has to continue to take on these tech tyrants,” Nunes said. “Donald Trump wanted to make sure that the American people got their voice back and that the internet was open and that’s what we are doing.”
“And so people like Elon Musk doing what he’s doing, you know we’re definitely in favor of it,” Nunes said.
In late April, Trump told CNBC’s Joe Kernen that he would not return to Twitter even if Musk took over and reversed the ban on him.
“No, I won’t be going back on Twitter,” said Trump, who had nearly 90 million followers on the platform before the ban.
“I will be on Truth Social within the week. It’s on schedule. We have a lot of people signed up,” he said.
“I like Elon Musk. I like him a lot. He’s an excellent individual. We did a lot for Twitter when I was in the White House. I was disappointed by the way I was treated by Twitter. I won’t be going back on Twitter,” Trump said.
Statistics show that Trump, who as president had averaged upward of eight tweets per day in the last half of 2017 and the first half of 2018, steadily increased that average in the following years. He ended up with an average of 34 tweets per day in his last half year in office, before being banned.
On Truth Social, Trump as of Friday had posted a so-called Truth or “ReTruthed” another user’s post less than 30 times combined over the past two months. Nearly all of those posts had been made in the past week.
Correction: Devin Nunes is CEO of Trump Media & Technology Group. An earlier version misstated the company name.