EXCLUSIVE: Former President Donald Trump wished Elon Musk the best with Twitter but stressed he will stay on his own Truth Social, a social media platform he touts as “better,” “safe” and that feels “like home.”
Musk on Thursday completed his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter, tweeting before midnight that “the bird is freed” and updating his bio to designate himself as the “Chief Twit.”
In an exclusive interview with Fox News Digital on Friday, Trump said, “I like Elon and I wish him a lot of luck. I hope he does well with it.”
However, Trump added, “I don’t think Twitter can be successful without me.” Should Musk lift Trump’s lifetime ban on Twitter, the former president’s account would technically be active. Trump declined to comment on if he would ever use it again.
Musk has suggested that he would loosen content moderation practices for Twitter and would eliminate lifetime bans from the platform, but Trump told Fox News Digital that the new policy will not affect how he uses social media.
“I am staying on Truth. I like it better, I like the way it works, I like Elon, but I’m staying on Truth,” he told Fox News Digital.
Trump was permanently suspended from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat following the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot. Twitter deemed a number of his tweets connected to the violent protests as inflammatory and warned of “the risk of further incitement of violence.”
Trump told Fox News Digital that “terminating” him from Facebook, Twitter and other social media companies in 2021 was “one of the worst decisions made in business in the last two years,” pointing to “how badly these platforms are doing.”
“Facebook is now down $80 billion and boring,” Trump said. “Twitter has been taken over, and, if it wasn’t for me, it would have never been taken over. No one would have even thought about it.”
Trump told Fox News Digital that when he began using Twitter, it was “a failing operation.”
“I made Twitter hot 12 years ago, I made Twitter hot,” he said. “And then when they terminated, it became cold, and that’s what happened.”
Trump, pointing to Facebook parent company Meta Platforms Inc.’s plunge in stock price — the lowest since February 2016 — and Twitter, said “engagements are way down and everything else since I left.”
“And if you remember, 12 years ago, Twitter was a failed enterprise,” he said. “It was only when I got on that it became successful.”
Trump, after being terminated, created the Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG), which launched in October 2021. TMTG’s social media platform, Truth Social, formally launched earlier this year.
Trump’s comments Friday are in line with comments he made exclusively to Fox News Digital in April, when Musk first signaled he would purchase the platform. Trump, at the time, said he would not return to Twitter and would stay on Truth Social.
“I want to stay on Truth — Truth is better,” Trump told Fox News Digital on Friday. “I like it better, it is better to my eye, and last week, it was higher than TikTok. It was number one last week.”
Earlier this month, Google added Truth Social to the Google Play store.
When Truth Social was added to Google Play, it was the No. 1 downloaded app in the store — ahead of TikTok, Amazon, WhatsApp and Instagram, and remained in that spot for nearly a week.
Last month, Samsung added the app to its Samsung Galaxy store, and earlier this year, Apple added Truth Social to its App Store. During its beta testing, and again when it opened to the public, Truth Social was also ranked No. 1 and the highest-ranking free app on the App Store in the U.S.
Trump, who has hinted at a 2024 White House run, told Fox News Digital on Friday that Truth Social would be his main platform should he launch a campaign.
“If I choose to run, I will only use Truth,” he said. “When I put out a Truth, it is all over the place.”
“When I put a Truth out, it goes all over the place anyway,” Trump said. “Everyone who is on Twitter and on all the other places, they all put it out anyway.”
He added, “I used to just put out public PR statements, and you know what, they were picked up.”
Meanwhile, TMTG’s plan is to become a publicly listed company through a merger with the publicly traded Digital World Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) whose sole purpose is to acquire a private company and take it public.
The SPAC is currently under investigation by the SEC, chaired by former Hillary Clinton campaign finance chair Gary Gensler, over whether there was pre-targeting of the deal and whether it had already identified TMTG as its target company before going public.
The SPAC is set to expire in December, but if it puts down approximately $3 million, it could extend itself for several months or a year.
TMTG, whose CEO is former Rep. Devin Nunes, is still a private company and has not yet merged with the SPAC.
Sources close to Trump and Truth Social told Fox News Digital that if the SPAC does not extend, Trump will keep it private, something that could be preferable to the former president as it has become “marketable.”
Trump, in a Truth Social post early Friday, said Truth Social “has become somewhat of a phenomena.”
“I am very happy that Twitter is now in sane hands, and will no longer be run by Radical Left Lunatics and Maniacs that truly hate our country,” Trump Truthed. “Twitter must now work hard to rid itself of all of the bots and fake accounts that have hurt it so badly. It will be much smaller, but better.”
He added: “I LOVE TRUTH!”