Saturday, May 18, 2024

Elon Musk Plugs Trump Back Into Twitter, But Coy Donald Resists Wooing

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As sole Twitter Commander, Elon Musk need not force a cringing underling to turn their key at gunpoint when he wants to take atomic action, and so the account of Donald J. Trump with its 86.4 million followers was reactivated on Saturday, but the mushroom cloud that liberals—and an ever-growing number of ambitious Republicans—have fretted so miserably has yet to appear on the social platform’s horizon, as 45’s response was rather apathetic.

The Tesla/SpaceX boss who finally, perhaps accidentally, added Twitter to his stable last month for just $44 billion put it to users in a Friday poll proposing, “Reinstate former President Trump,” and earning Trump a rare post-2016 win among a staggering string of defeats.

Reinstate former President Trump

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 19, 2022

With the Yes vote beating Noes by 51.8 percent to 48.2 percent, Musk tweeted, “Vox Populi, Vox Dei,” and, of course, “134M people have seen this poll.” And so Trump’s Twitter account was reanimated on Saturday—never mind previous reports that Musk was going to play along with Twitter execs by establishing some dishwater “content moderation council” to field their fears before allowing the return of refugees—and the page where a suspension notice had so long been parked returned like a relic preserved in an amber lard, informing the world once again: “To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”

To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 8, 2021

It was later on that day, January 8, 2021, that Trump’s ability to share such passive-aggressive sadness instantaneously was instantaneously curtailed by orders of magnitude when Twitter permanently suspended him for—the company claimed—his tweets related to the Jan. 6 riots at the Capitol, with the then-guardians of the platform stating that the forever exile was necessary “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.”

But Musk made short work of those execs almost immediately upon his October takeover, firing CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal, general counsel Sean Edgett and, especially, Vijaya Gadde, the head of legal policy, trust and safety who many on the right consider particularly responsible for suspending conservatives. Yet with the stage set so elegantly for Trump to make his triumphant return, somehow the weekend passed without triumph.

And Trump is a man who enjoys few things more than a triumph followed by sessions of shooting off his mouth as he imagines enemies both true and hallucinatory driven before him, but he still has not unleashed a tweet whirlwind for his opponents to reap.

What gives?

For one thing, Trump has his own personal Maga Matrix, Truth Social, created after Twitter 1.0—as Musk now calls it—cast him away so discourteously. While Truth Social has only an estimated 1.7 million users in the U.S. compared to Twitter’s 23 percent of all U.S. adults, TruSoc never embarrassed Trump in front of all his friends, and the skin that contains him is reportedly wafer-thin.

Trump acknowledged the poll on his platform but, perhaps for the first time in his life, played it cool rather than nerve-vomiting his hopes and tactics in bursts of madness, writing only, “Vote now with positivity, but don’t worry, we aren’t going anywhere. Truth Social is special!”

Newly-coy Trump doesn’t say that he won’t return to his tweet perch, as his statement could be interpreted to mean that Truth Social itself is not about to whither and die, and while asking people to vote “with positivity” literally means vote Yes, Trump can now say he never technically asked anyone to vote for him at all—for all he cared about it.

But that was days ago, and Trump’s deal with TS requires only that he must wait six hours before reposting one his messages elsewhere, but on Monday morning the stale sarcophagus of his Twitter page was still staring out in self-imposed suspended animation. Just spitballing, it may have a bit to do with performance anxiety, since it’s been almost two years since Trump carried out his antics before a live, worldwide audience.

Additionally, Trump might feel exceptionally wounded by the reaction just days ago to his first news in memory, that he’s running again, for president. His third-bid reveal, however, was met largely with silence or disdain by former supporters. Perhaps particularly infuriating for Trump was how cheekily his onetime comrades in crime at the New York Post-Fox News-News Corp cabal responded, with the Post reporting on the bottom inch of its front page, “Florida Man Makes Announcement”—which is pretty strong meat for a paper that bills itself as the fourth largest in the nation while having just 2.8 million followers (Weird Al’s got five million, so settle down, infants).

On the other hand, Trump hates—really, really, pathologically hates—anyone he considers to be a “loser,” and World’s Richest Boy Musk has been looking like nothing more than a gape-jawed 44 Billion Dollar Rube since he ended up with this unwieldy prize that seems to be crumbling in his hands.

Since Musk smirkingly long-knifed his brand new company, hundreds on the survivors’ side of his tough-guy Thanos Snap that reduced 7,500 employees by half have quit Twitter—as Musk apparently did not think they would resign rather than be toyed with and made small by a pudgy trust-fund baby-man, who many experts say understands little of engineering or programming but is just one very fortunate huckleberry son.

And if Musk had thought workers would clamor to stay aboard, he made it even more unlikely by issuing this icky threat: “Going forward, to build a breakthrough Twitter 2.0 and succeed in an increasingly competitive world, we will need to be extremely hardcore. This will mean working long hours at high intensity. Only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade.”

Hundreds quit rather than getting hardcore with the pretend-astronaut, including several “critical” teams inside the company including Twitter’s traffic and front-end teams and the team that maintains Twitter’s core system libraries that every engineer at the company uses is also gone, according to the Verge.

But one post from The Donald could be a huge boon to the frantic Musk—fueled by one tired news outlet after another after another whining how Trump saying things on an already debased medium is making the world unsafe for people they consider stupid, so Musk is putting himself out there like the most nightmarish version of Say Anything.

And lead us not into temptation …

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 21, 2022

So far, Trump is unmoved. He already said in April that he wouldn’t come back to Twitter, despite anything Musk might do. But give it another day or so.

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