Elon Musk buys Twitter, sparking concern from Democrats

Democrats worry Trump will return to Twitter

Congressional Democrats sounded the alarm this week after Tesla CEO Elon Musk struck a deal to buy Twitter for roughly $44 billion and take the social media company private. 

Among the lawmakers' chief concerns was that Musk could allow former President Donald Trump, who was permanently banned from Twitter in January 2021 after spreading misinformation about the 2020 election, back onto the platform.  


While Musk has not said whether he plans to lift Trump's Twitter ban, the tech executive is a frequent citric of the platform, which he has previously accused of stifling free speech. In the past, Musk, who describes himself as a "free speech absolutist," has proposed relaxing Twitter content restrictions, fueling speculation that Trump could return to his onetime favorite social media website.  

During a recent interview at a TED conference, Musk argued that social media networks should not remove comments that are offensive if they are still legal. 

"If it's a gray area, let the tweet exist," Musk said. 

Elon Musk Tesla

CEO of Tesla Motors Elon Musk speaks at the Tesla Giga Texas manufacturing "Cyber Rodeo" grand opening party in Austin, Texas, April 7, 2022.  (Suzanne Cordeiro/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Sen. Dick Durbin, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was among the Democrats who expressed concern about what Musk's purchase of Twitter means for the former president.

"He said he wants it to be a global message board," Durbin, D-Ill., told reporters Monday. "My first question to him is, 'Is your message board going to include Donald Trump?' You know I think that's a good question. If he just lets that man run the rail on Twitter, it's not in the best interest of Americans." 

Durbin said that his and other panels are investigating whether it would be appropriate to impose new regulations on tech platforms to encourage them to moderate content.

Still, Trump has denied that he will get back on the platform if Musk reinstates him, insisting he intends to remain on his own social media website, Truth Social.

"I am not going on Twitter. I am going to stay on Truth," Trump told Fox News Monday. "I hope Elon buys Twitter because he'll make improvements to it, and he is a good man, but I am going to be staying on Truth."

The White House declined to comment on the acquisition, but press secretary Jen Psaki said President Biden has long been concerned about the platform of social media companies. 

Elizabeth Warren

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on the nomination of Chris Magnus to be the next U.S. Customs and Border Protection commissioner in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill Oct. 19, 2021. (Mandel Ngan-Pool/Getty Images / Getty Images)

"Our concerns are not new," Psaki told reporters Monday. "The president has long talked about his concerns about the power of social media platforms, including Twitter and others, to spread misinformation."

That sentiment was reiterated by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, one of the biggest advocates for breaking up major technology companies like Amazon, Facebook and Google. She called Musk's purchase of Twitter "dangerous for our democracy."

Warren suggested there should be additional antitrust regulations put in place regarding Twitter and other social media platforms in order to make it easier for other companies to compete with them. In doing that, the platforms would pose a "lot smaller risk to our democracy," she said.

Elon Musk Twitter

Tesla has once again been subpoenaed by the Securities and Exchange Commission over CEO Elon Musk’s Twitter habits. (REUTERS/Michele Tantussi/File Photo / Reuters Photos)


"When a billionaire amasses this much power, he plays by a different set of rules than everyone else," Warren told Fox News Monday. "And that means one person can literally turn upside down how millions of people across this country communicate. It's also a reminder of why we need a wealth tax in America."

The Massachusetts Democrat has been a fierce critic of Musk and other billionaires and has repeatedly advocated for a wealth tax on the wealthiest U.S households. The two have exchanged barbs on Twitter in the past, with Warren accusing Musk of "freeloading off of everyone else," and Musk responding by insulting her as "Senator Karen." 

Fox News' Kelly Phares contributed to this report