Elon Musk said Tuesday that he would undo the Twitter ban on former president Donald Trump if his takeover bid for the social network is approved.
“I would reverse the permaban,” Musk said, speaking virtually at the Financial Times Future of the Car conference. “I think that it was a mistake.”
Twitter banned Trump last year after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the US Capitol. Last month, Twitter cofounder Jack Dorsey said the move was right for the company at the time, but the wrong decision generally.
Musk said Tuesday he has talked to Dorsey, and they both agree that permanent bans should be reserved for bots and spam accounts. “I think it was a morally bad decision, to be clear, and foolish in the extreme,” Musk said of the Trump ban.
Twitter declined to comment. Trump’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Musk’s remarks come as the billionaire Tesla CEO tries to push through his $44 billion proposal to make Twitter a private company. Musk’s pitch is to make the social network a beacon of free speech, referring to the platform as a “digital town square.” However, when Musk disclosed financial backing for the deal last week, it included investments from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, two countries that have historically suppressed freedom of expression.
Even if Trump’s ban is reversed, Musk said the former president would likely not return to Twitter and instead opt for Truth Social, his own right-wing social platform.
Musk emphasized on Tuesday that his takeover bid is “not a done deal.” He said in the “best-case scenario,” he hopes the transaction closes in two or three months.