Elon Musk would reverse Donald Trump's Twitter ban

Trump was barred from the platform in January 2021 in the final days of his presidency amid unrest following the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Tech billionaire Elon Musk said Tuesday that he would allow former President Donald Trump back on Twitter after Musk completes his plan to buy the company, giving the most concrete example yet of how his vision of social media would play out in reality.

Musk said at an event sponsored by the Financial Times that it was "morally bad" and "foolish in the extreme" for Twitter to permanently suspend Trump in January 2021 after Trump's supporters violently stormed the U.S. Capitol, according to a video of the event posted online.

"I do think that it was not correct to ban Donald Trump," Musk, the CEO of Tesla, told the newspaper's Future of the Car event via remote video.

"I think that was a mistake because it alienated a large part of the country and did not ultimately result in Donald Trump not having a voice," he said, citing Trump's newly launched tech platform, Truth Social.

"I would reverse the permanent ban," Musk said.

Musk, the wealthiest person in the world according to Bloomberg News, has said that he's buying Twitter in part to ensure that online speech is as free as possible with the laws of each country. That may mean, though, that rules against harassment or hateful images get repealed or go unenforced, potentially alienating some users and advertisers.

Musk's purchase of Twitter is not yet final and is expected to be completed by the end of the year, subject to the approval of Twitter shareholders.

Trump's spokespeople did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Musk's statements. Current Twitter management also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Twitter's CEO at the time of the Trump ban, Jack Dorsey, defended the ban as protecting against offline harm "based on threats to physical safety both on and off Twitter."

Trump said last month that he would not return to Twitter even if allowed to do so, telling Fox News that he was committed to Truth Social. It's not clear if Trump would change his mind.

Musk said he feared that political discussions would become too fractured if conservatives weren't welcome on Twitter.