The Trump Twitter Dance

Donald Trump
For Trump, the urge is real—if not primal—to return to Twitter, and the platform is an obvious necessity for a candidate who needs to get as much exposure as possible following a low-energy entry back into the field. Photo by Jabin Botsford/Getty Images
Tara Palmeri
November 21, 2022

This weekend, newly-minted Twitter proprietor Elon Musk ran an unscientific poll asking his followers on the platform whether Donald Trump should be reinstated. The former president, as it turns out, eked out a close victory, but nevertheless demurred and announced that he was staying put on Truth Social.

At least for now. Those close to Trump tell me they suspect he’ll be back on Twitter by the new year. The urge is real, if not primal, and the platform is an obvious necessity for a candidate who needs to get as much exposure as possible, especially following a low-energy entry back into the field amid a cable news environment that will be reluctant to cover his every outrageous comment and rally. In fact, I presume that the ease with which he’s been welcomed back, via Twitter poll plebiscite, delights his team. 

In reality, Truth Social was never a competitor so much as a rebound. When Truth was being developed, I’m told, there were conversations about exemptions to Trump’s eight-hour exclusivity window with Truth if he were to become a candidate. And it’s something his team is currently exploring. After all, Trump has 86.4 million followers on Twitter and 4.5 million on Truth Social. 

Holding off until the New Year makes sense since there is a new deadline for Truth Social—Dec. 8—by which Trump Media needs to merge with Digital World Acquisition Corp to gain $1.3 billion in financing. But can Trump hold his fire until then? Going all-in for Twitter could completely tank Truth, whose own struggles somehow make Twitter seem stable. 

In the meantime, Trump and his team are enjoying the attention. “I think Elon has to show some leg to get his attention,” said a source close to Trump. For his part, I’m told that Trump is satisfied with the feedback he gets from Truth, but that “in his heart, he knows the difference,” said the source close to him. (A Trump campaign official told me “He plans to use Truth exclusively so [the exemption] won’t apply.”)