Twitter's ban on then President Donald Trump after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by his supporters was a "grave mistake" that had to be corrected, CEO Elon Musk said Friday, although he also stated that incitement to violence would continue to be prohibited on Twitter.
"I'm fine with Trump not tweeting," Musk tweeted. "The important thing is that Twitter correct a grave mistake in banning his account, despite no violation of the law or terms of service.
"Deplatforming a sitting president undermined public trust in Twitter for half of America."
In another thread, Musk vowed to support Ron DeSantis in 2024 if the Florida governor, who recently coasted to a second term, were to run for president.
Last week, Musk announced the reactivation of Trump's account after a slim majority voted in a Twitter poll in favor of reinstating Trump, who said, however, he had no interest in returning to Twitter. He added he would stick with his own social media site Truth Social, the app developed by Trump Media & Technology Group.
Republican Trump, who 11 days ago announced he was running for election again in 2024, was banned Jan. 8, 2021, from Twitter under its previous owners.
At the time, Twitter said it permanently suspended him because of the risk of further incitement of violence following the storming of the Capitol. The results of the November 2020 presidential election won by Democrat Joe Biden were being certified by lawmakers when the Capitol was attacked after weeks of false claims by Trump that he had won.
Trump repeatedly used Twitter and other sites to claim there had been widespread voter fraud, and had urged supporters to march on the Capitol in Washington to protest.
Earlier Friday, Musk tweeted that calling for violence or incitement to violence on Twitter would result in suspension, after saying Thursday that Twitter would provide a "general amnesty" to suspended accounts that had not broken the law or engaged in spam.
Replying to a tweet, Musk said it was "very concerning" Twitter had taken no action earlier to remove some accounts related to the far-left Antifa movement. In response to another tweet asking if Musk considered the statement "trans people deserve to die" as worthy of suspension from the platform, the billionaire said: "Absolutely."
Musk Supporting DeSantis
DeSantis earlier this month defeated Democrat opponent Charlie Crist by nearly 20 percentage points to be re-elected as Florida governor and cemented himself as the Republican Party's top rising star.
Political pundits have been doling out high marks to DeSantis, who is seen as a potential challenger to former president Donald Trump in the 2024 field of Republican presidential candidates. Trump announced 10 days ago he was running for election again in 2024.
"My preference for the 2024 presidency is someone sensible and centrist. I had hoped that would the case for the Biden administration, but have been disappointed so far," Musk said on Twitter.
"Yes," he replied in a tweet when asked if he would support DeSantis in 2024.
"As a reminder, I was a significant supporter of the Obama-Biden presidency and (reluctantly) voted for Biden over Trump," the Twitter owner said.
Musk had previously said in June he was leaning toward supporting DeSantis for president in 2024, and added the Florida governor would easily defeat Biden in the election.
When asked back then about Musk's support, DeSantis joked, "I welcome support from African-Americans, what can I say." Musk, who is white, grew up in South Africa.
DeSantis is especially popular with conservatives for taking the lead on culture war issues concerning race and gender. His governorship has been marked by his rejection of pandemic-related health restrictions, passage of a law limiting discussion of LGBTQ issues in schools, and a feud with Walt Disney over the law.
Musk urged Americans to elect a Republican Congress in the U.S. midterm elections earlier this month to counterbalance Biden's Democrats. However, the Democrats defied Republican hopes for a "red wave" in the midterms and retained control of the Senate while the Republicans only won a narrow majority in the House of Representatives.
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