Devin Nunes, the former congressman who is now CEO of Donald Trump’s social-media rival to Twitter, claimed that his new boss “encouraged” tech mogul Elon Musk to acquire Twitter, to “take on these tech tyrants.”
Musk says that’s false.
“I’ve had no communication, directly or indirectly, with Trump, who has publicly stated that he will be exclusively on Truth Social,” Musk tweeted Friday, replying to a New York Post article about Nunes’ claims.
In an appearance Wednesday on Fox Business Network’s “Varney & Co,” Nunes said, “President Trump, basically before Elon Musk bought it, actually said to go and buy it because the goal of our company is really to build a community where people are in a family-friendly, safe environment.” Nunes added, “we encouraged Elon Musk to buy” Twitter, because “someone has to take on these tech tyrants… 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.”
Nunes, who is CEO of Trump Media & Technology Group, once sued Twitter, seeking $250 million in damages, alleging in part he was defamed by anonymous parody accounts “Devin Nunes’ Mom” and “Devin Nunes’ Cow.” A judge threw out the case.
Musk has said he’s primarily interested in protecting “free speech” on Twitter, and he has criticized the company for allegedly having a left-leaning political bias. That stance has led right-wingers — who have long alleged Twitter (and other internet platforms) somehow stifle conservative viewpoints — to champion Musk’s $44 billion bid for Twitter.
Twitter permanently banned Trump shortly after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, citing its policy against inciting violence. Trump, who was effectively deplatformed from all social media, launched Truth Social, which is very similar to Twitter and claims it is “free from political discrimination.”
“Truth Social (terrible name) exists because Twitter censored free speech,” Musk tweeted on April 27. “Should be called Trumpet instead!”
After Twitter’s board accepted Musk’s buyout offer, Trump insisted he wouldn’t rejoin Twitter regardless of who owns it. “I am not going on Twitter. I am going to stay on Truth,” Trump told Fox News last month.
Musk has been lining up new financing for his potential Twitter takeover, which is still pending regulatory and shareholder review. This week, he announced $7.14 billion in new financing agreements for the bid, including $1 billion from pal Larry Ellison. In the past few weeks, Musk has also suggested a range of changes to Twitter, including authenticating all users and potentially charging companies and governments to use Twitter.
When Trump was kicked off Twitter, he had more than 88 million followers. On Truth Social, which launched for iOS in February, Trump is currently listed as having 2.55 million followers.
Trump Media & Technology Group plans to become a publicly traded entity through a merger with Digital World Acquisition Corp. (DWAC), a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), which announced its deal with TMTG in December. Shares of DWAC are down 27% since Musk disclosed on April 4 that he had bought a 9.2% stake in Twitter.