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Trump returns to X, formerly Twitter, with mug shot and appeal for donations

Trump returns to X, formerly Twitter, with mug shot and appeal for donations

On August 24, Reuters reported a significant development in the digital landscape as former President Donald Trump reemerged on the social media platform “X,” formerly known as Twitter. This marked a pivotal moment as Trump’s return to the platform came after being banned in the aftermath of the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Congress by his supporters. This strategic move enabled Trump to regain direct access to the public and reestablish his online presence.

The San Francisco-based platform, under the ownership of billionaire Elon Musk, a self-proclaimed advocate of “free speech absolutism,” had initially banned Trump but later reversed its stance on November 19. The reversal was a notable shift in policy, allowing Trump to once again engage with his substantial following, which had exceeded 88 million followers at the time of his ban. In his first post on the platform, Trump shared an image of his booking mug shot from his recent detention at Fulton County Jail in Georgia, accompanied by a plea for donations. The post’s message was centered around the theme of “ELECTION INTERFERENCE! NEVER SURRENDER!” This post rapidly gained traction, amassing more than 14 million views just 50 minutes after being posted.

The banishment of Trump from Twitter in January 2021 was a response to concerns over his potential to incite further violence, particularly in the wake of the U.S. Capitol breach. Prior to the ban, Trump had been a prolific user of Twitter and other social media platforms, leveraging them to disseminate claims of widespread voter fraud that he asserted had led to his defeat in the 2020 presidential election, along with sharing various conspiracy theories.

With an eye on the political future, Trump formally launched a campaign bid to regain the presidency in 2024 on November 15. However, a recent decision saw him declining participation in a Republican primary debate on Fox News. Instead, he chose to engage in an interview on the platform “X,” a move that garnered significant attention. The conversation, lasting 46 minutes and featuring a discussion with conservative commentator Tucker Carlson, achieved an impressive viewer count of nearly 250 million by Thursday night.

Notably, Trump’s communication strategy had largely shifted towards utilizing his own social media platform, Truth Social. Developed by his Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG) startup, this platform had attracted around 6.4 million followers by that point. Trump had been actively using Truth Social since May, employing it as a primary channel to communicate directly with his followers. Here, he promoted his allies, criticized opponents, and defended his reputation amid the ongoing legal scrutiny he faced from multiple investigative bodies at the state, congressional, and federal levels.

Adding complexity to the situation, TMTG had announced plans to merge with Digital World Acquisition Corp (DWAC), a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC), in a deal valued at $1.3 billion. However, this merger’s progress was hindered by investigations initiated by the Department of Justice and the SEC, subsequently causing delays and casting doubt on its completion. A pivotal decision loomed, as DWAC shareholders were set to vote on extending the merger completion timeline until September 5. Failure to secure these votes would trigger a liquidation process by September 8.

Trump’s ongoing legal battles extended beyond his platform access. In 2021, he filed a lawsuit against Twitter, asserting that his suspension violated his First Amendment right to freedom of speech. A California judge initially dismissed the case, but an upcoming federal appeals court hearing in Pasadena, California, scheduled for October 4, would reexamine this dispute. Despite his reinstatement on the platform, Trump’s legal team maintained that the claims raised in the lawsuit remained valid and subject to resolution by the appeals court.

the resurgence of former President Donald Trump on the social media platform “X,” following his ban from Twitter, marked a significant shift in the digital landscape. This move, along with his engagement on other platforms and his involvement in legal battles, highlighted his continued efforts to maintain a prominent online presence and influence public discourse.


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