Former President Donald Trump is back on Twitter (now X) more than two years after he was banned from the platform in the aftermath of the January 6th Capitol riot. On August 24th, 2023, Trump tweeted for the first time since the website reinstated his account on November 19th, 2022. His first post? An image with the mug shot taken when he was booked at the Fulton County jail in Georgia on charges that he conspired to overturn the results of 2020 Presidential elections.
The image also says “Election Interference” and “Never Surrender!,” along with a URL of his website. Trump linked to his website in the tweet, as well, where his mug shot is also prominently featured with a lengthy note that starts with: “Today, at the notoriously violent jail in Fulton County, Georgia, I was ARRESTED despite having committed NO CRIME.”
In November last year, Musk appeared to make the decision to reinstate Trump’s account based on the results of a Twitter poll. He asked people to vote on whether Trump should have access to his account returned. At the end of 24 hours, the option to reinstate the former president won with 51.8 percent of a decision that saw more than 15 million votes. Musk admitted at the time that some of the action on the poll came from “bot and troll armies.” Prior to the poll, Musk also said the decision on whether to reinstate Trump would come from a newly formed moderation council, but he never followed through on that pledge.
The website then known as Twitter banned Trump in early 2021 after he broke the company’s rules against inciting violence. The initial suspension saw Trump lose access to his account for 12 hours, but days later, the company made the decision permanent. At first, Trump tried to skirt the ban, even going so far as to file a lawsuit against Twitter that ultimately failed. Following his de-platforming from Twitter, Facebook and other social media websites, Trump went on to create Truth Social. Following his reinstatement, Trump said he didn’t “see any reason” to return to the platform. That said, the promise of reaching a huge audience with something as dramatic as a mug shot was obviously too good for Trump to pass up, particularly with what is likely to be a messy Republican primary on the horizon.
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