deprived of his Twitter account, does Donald Trump have a political future?

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Acquitted by the Senate in early February, Donald Trump can consider a return to politics. But without Twitter or Facebook, the former president will be deprived, at least temporarily, of his most valuable tools.

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Acquitted by the Senate in early February, Donald Trump can consider a return to politics.  But without Twitter or Facebook, the former president will be deprived, at least temporarily, of his most valuable tools.

© AFP

Acquitted by the Senate in early February, Donald Trump can consider a return to politics. But without Twitter or Facebook, the former president will be deprived, at least temporarily, of his most valuable tools.


More than four years of tweeting the news, and then nothing. For a month and a half, Donald Trump no longer has access to the main social networks. Twitter, through which the former president spoke live to 88 million subscribers, suspended his account permanently, accusing him of inciting his supporters to the January 6 violence against the Capitol. A few days ago, the social network closed the door to a relaxation of this unprecedented measure: “Our policies do not allow people to return” after being excluded, said Ned Segal, the chief financial officer of Twitter.

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Donald Trump also cannot use Facebook, where he had more than 30 million subscribers. The group’s independent supervisory board (Facebook Oversight Board) is due to make a final decision by mid-April but pressure is intensifying on the social network not to allow the billionaire to regain access to his Facebook and Instagram accounts (also owned by the group). At the end of January, YouTube management also extended the suspension of Donald Trump’s account indefinitely.

Acquitted by the Senate during his second impeachment trial, the ex-president has proven that he still retains a major influence among Republicans. As such, he can nurture ambitions for the next presidential election, but deprived of his digital megaphones, the billionaire is for the moment inaudible. In these conditions, can it continue to influence the future of United States?

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Twitter, an essential tool for its political rise

“I doubt that I would be [président] without social networks, to be honest with you, “Donald Trump said in 2017.” I have over 100 million followers between Facebook, Twitter [et] Instagram “, he reminded Financial Times. “Over 100 million. I don’t need to go see the fake media.” Asked by the Fox Business channel, the Republican advanced a fundamental point of his report to Twitter. “It’s like a typewriter – when I send a tweet, you immediately put it on your show.” And to add: “When someone says something about me, I can go [sur Twitter] bing, bing, bing and I’ll take care of it. Without it, I would never be able to get the message across. “

Without Twitter, he might not have been elected in 2016

Over the years, Twitter has become the hallmark of the former president, further complicating his political future. “Trump has truly become a deity to his most devoted supporters, and one of the things they love about him so much is that he is leading the culture war alongside them,” Jared Holt, researcher, told Vox. at the Atlantic Council. “Losing the platform where this war is taking place takes away that thrill.” Twitter also gave him direct access to a social network popular with politicians and journalists. “Without that, he might not have been elected in 2016,” said pollster Tony Fabrizio, who worked on his two presidential campaigns.

Weighing without Twitter, a difficult equation

Throughout American history, only Grover Cleveland, elected from 1885 to 1889 and then from 1893 to 1897, reconquered the White House after leaving it. So Donald Trump is tackling a major challenge without his main ally. “He ‘s like Samson without his hair,” he said Washington Post Paul Waldman, he has lost all his strength. ”In this period, social networks would be useful for at least three reasons:

  1. Continue to federate its base (According to a recent CNBC poll, 74% of Republicans want him to stay active in one way or another).
  2. Keep control of the Republican Party by pointing out, as he has done for four years, his opponents in the GOP.
  3. Parasites the mandate of Joe Biden by making his voice heard, as he did during Barack Obama’s tenure, which served as a springboard for him into politics.
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Twitter management has said it will not allow Donald Trump to return to his platform even if he is re-elected in 2024; the billionaire could therefore be tempted to look elsewhere. The Parler platform, popular with the American far-right, would welcome him with open arms. According to Buzzfeed News, the outgoing president’s teams had even started talks with his leaders so that Donald Trump enters the capital of the social network, up to 40%. The deal was never successful, and in January, Parler was even disconnected by its host, Amazon Web Services (AWS), after the violence in Washington. The site came back online only this week.

We won’t be silenced

If all the figures of the American hard right have an account, and Parler claims 15 million users, the network is far from ideal for Donald Trump. Same thing with Telegram or Signal loops, which have the defect of functioning in isolation. Or with a social network that he would create from scratch, a hypothesis that has also been put forward in recent weeks. Donald Trump could speak there at his base, but would lose interactivity with his political opponents, journalists and the media around the world. “We will not be silenced,” he promised, however, leaving Twitter.

Returning to where it came from: television

It would indeed be an exaggeration to say that Donald Trump will be inaudible. Tuesday, he recalled, with a crash, that, even reclusive in his club in Florida, he did not intend to disappear from the American political landscape. In a scathing statement, he attacked the leader of the Senate Republicans, Mitch McConnell, who had deemed him “responsible” for the murderous assault on Capitol Hill. “Mitch is a sullen, sullen politician who never smiles and if Republican senators stay with him they won’t win anymore,” he said, recalling that he still had a say in the future of the left.

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And the former president is far from helpless: he has raised more than 250 million dollars since his defeat on November 3, thanks in particular to the accusations of fraud that he has multiplied. With two successive presidential campaigns, he can also count on a database (addresses, emails, phone number) which will be useful if he wishes to be a candidate for the primary of the Republican Party.

Despite his differences with Fox News in recent months, he could also easily find a home there. In November, Vanity Fair wrote that the channel’s owner, Rupert Murdoch, was considering offering him a huge deal to get his memoir and put him on his own show. Isn’t it already on TV, presenting The Apprentice for ten years, that the billionaire has reshaped his character?

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