After Elon Musk reached an agreement on Monday to purchase Twitter, Maine Sen. Susan Collins said the Tesla CEO and world’s wealthiest man should allow former President Donald Trump back on the social media platform.
The Republican took issue with the platform’s willingness to allow Russian government sites to proliferate while continuing to block Trump from using the platform, according to The Huffington Post.
The former president was banned from Twitter following the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol, and the social media giant has not yet allowed him back on the site. Trump was also banned from Facebook.
In response to questions on Tuesday, Collins said while she “obviously” did not agree with Trump’s tweet, she saw an “uneven standard” in the way that Twitter chooses which accounts to allow on the platform.
“It’s ironic that we allow Russian government sites to be on Twitter but we don’t allow President Trump,” she said.
Despite praising Musk’s planned takeover, Trump told Fox News on Monday that he will not return to the platform and will remain on Truth Social, the site he launched in October. Stock in Trump’s platform plummeted immediately in response to the Musk-Twitter deal.
Musk has said that he wanted to buy and privatize Twitter because he thinks it’s not living up to its potential as a platform for free speech.
“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” he said.
Musk has described himself as a “free-speech absolutist” but is also known for blocking or disparaging other Twitter users who question or disagree with him.
In recent weeks, he has voiced a number of proposed changes for the company, from relaxing its content restrictions — such as those that led to Trump’s account being suspended — to ridding the platform of fake and automated accounts, and shifting away from its advertising-based revenue model.
A number of conservative voices have expressed excitement over Musk’s bid for Twitter, seeing it as a symbolic act against big technology companies they see as hostile. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, tweeted out a poll asking for reactions to the news with just two options; “yes,” and “no, I hate free speech.”