President Donald Trump has revealed he has hundreds of millions of dollars in backing for a new social media venture that would give him an online presence and protect conservatives from being shut down online.
Washington Examiner Two sources familiar with discussions said investors even included Silicon Valley heavyweights motivated by fears of censorship and online “cancel culture.” Details emerged as Trump began a new phase of his post-presidency, giving television interviews from his Florida base in the week after his Senate impeachment acquittal.
On Wednesday, he boasted about the millions of people who followed him on his now-shuttered Twitter and Facebook accounts and confirmed that he had considered buying a social media company.
We’re negotiating with a number of people,” he told Newsmax TV. “There is also the option of building our own site because we have more people than anybody, so you can literally build your own site. But we were being really harassed on Twitter. They were putting up all sorts of flags, I guess they call them, they were flagging almost anything you said.”
Two sources familiar with discussions said Trump had also met with potential investors in a new online venture designed to allow the former president to engage with his supporters and protect them from being taken offline.
Trump’s team is using the free speech argument to attract libertarian donors, said one Republican. “They aren’t the people you might expect,” he said.
His 3 recent TV appearances to pay tribute to conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh, who died on Wednesday, marked a welcome return for the 74 million people who voted for him in November, he said. “There’s a real despondent feeling among those people,” he said. “And many were buoyed to hear the former president. We never had a president get silenced before. It’s never happened.”
Chairman of the American Conservative Union Matt Schlapp said it was impossible for Twitter, Facebook, and other tech giants to keep Trump out of politics.
In the meantime, many of his supporters have migrated to messaging sites, such as Telegram, or other microblogging sites such as Parler, which was itself taken offline last month by its host Amazon Web Services over a pattern of hateful posts.
It later emerged that Parler had been in talks with the Trump Organization last year, offering a 40% stake if he made the no-holds-barred platform his online home, according to Buzzfeed News.
Gab, a social media platform popular with Trump supporters, is even keeping a seat, or at least a handle, warm for the former president.
“@realdonaldtrump is and always has been a mirror archive of POTUS’ tweets and statements that we’ve run for years,” wrote chief executive Andrew Torba in a recent post on the platform. “We’ve always been transparent about this and would obviously let people know if the president starts using it.”