Elon Musk restores Trump to Twitter after ex-president narrowly tops online poll

Elon Musk reinstated Donald Trump to Twitter on Saturday night — after the ex-president finally won a popular vote.

Musk announced Trump’s restoration to what was once the ex-president’s favorite social media site by polling Twitter users on the matter. The poll opened Friday night with a simple setup: Vote yes or no to the statement, “Reinstate former President Trump.” By Saturday night, “yes” had won.

Trump’s restoration won by a 52% to 48% vote.

“The people have spoken,” Musk wrote. “Trump will be reinstated.”

“Vox Populi, Vox Dei,” the 51-year-old Musk added, using a Latin phrase that translates to “the voice of the people is the voice of God.”

More than 15 million people voted in the poll.

Soon after Musk’s announcement, Trump’s old account reappeared on Twitter, along with more than 59,000 of his old tweets. By 9:30 p.m., Trump’s account had 2.5 million followers. That was short of the 88 million followers Trump had when his account was suspended.

It’s not clear that Trump will actually sign up. The newest Trump tweet on the site was his announcement Jan. 8, 2021 that he would not attend President Biden’s inauguration.

Trump was banned from Twitter — previously his favorite spot to air grievances — after he inspired the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Twitter cited the “the risk of further incitement of violence” when it blocked Trump on Jan. 8, 2021.

Musk, who has owned Twitter since October, said last spring that he intended to pave the way for Trump’s return after the completion of the purchase. He bought the social media platform for $44 billion with a pledge to scale back content moderation while emphasizing freedom of speech.

On Friday, the Tesla tycoon said that the conservative Canadian podcaster Jordan Peterson and the right-wing satire website Babylon Bee, both previously banned from the platform, would have their accounts restored. Musk added that Kathy Griffin, a comedian suspended earlier this month for impersonating Musk, would also be allowed to return.

The announcements came in a tweet in which Musk tried to clarify the platform’s content moderation policies under his leadership.

“New Twitter policy is freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach,” Musk said in the tweet. “Negative/hate tweets will be max deboosted & demonetized, so no ads or other revenue to Twitter.”

In 23 days leading Twitter, Musk has brought sweeping changes, starting with the staff.

Earlier this month, Musk laid off about 50% of Twitter’s workforce of 7,500. And hundreds more employees made their departure this week, after Musk demanded they be “extremely hardcore” and commit to working long hours.