A piece in today’s Times:
Donald Trump has said he will launch a social media platform in the coming weeks and reiterated his false claim that he won the election last year.
The former president, 74, was banned from Twitter on January 8. Over the weekend an aide said Trump was working on developing his own network to address supporters directly.
“You’ll be hearing about it soon,” Trump told Lisa Boothe, a contributor to Fox News, for the inaugural episode of her podcast, The Truth. In the meantime, he said, “we’re sending out [press] releases. They’re getting picked up much better than any tweet. I put out a statement, it’s much more elegant than a tweet. It goes on Twitter anyway because thousands of people pick it up.”
Trump, a prolific tweeter who was followed by 88 million accounts, was banned two days after his supporters stormed the US Capitol to try to overturn the election result. Twitter said there was a “risk of further incitement of violence” if he were allowed to remain. Facebook also suspended him.
Trump linked the bans to what he described as the Democrats’ “protection of Big Tech” and argued that he had tried to rein in the social media giants.
Amazon refused to say whether it would be willing to host a new Trump platform. Apple said the content would determine whether or not it would be available via its App Store.
Trump also used the almost hour-long interview to return to pet peeves, attacking what he framed as a Democrat conspiracy for undermining his presidency. “It’s an unfair situation, they go after us at every level. In the city, in states. All the Mueller investigations, all that nonsense . . . it’s a disgrace. It couldn’t happen to a Democrat . . . we had a great election and we won. They took it away. It was a rigged election. We had 75 million votes. And that’s the votes we know about.”
Trump also attacked President Biden, 78, over the influx of migrants entering the US from Mexico, a situation he claimed had gone from being a “national triumph to a national disaster”. The numbers of people who have crossed into the US are at their highest level for 20 years. Yesterday it was reported that border agents have begun releasing migrants caught crossing the border without fixing a date for an asylum hearing. Asked about what Boothe, 36, described as his “wise” and “so smart” policy on immigration, Trump said: “We had such good control two or three months ago. And then he [Biden] made the statement ‘You want to come in?’ and everyone came marching up.” He also said that “Middle Easterners” were among those arriving across the border.
Trump has so far been coy over whether he will stand in 2024 but has said he will support conservatives in next year’s midterms. “I’ll make that decision sometime later but there’s a pretty deep bench [of other Republicans],” he said.
Yesterday Save America, his political action committee, backed Jody Hice, a Republican congressman, to challenge Brad Raffensperger, Georgia secretary of state who refused to overturn the state’s presidential election results in Trump’s favour. In a telephone conversation Trump asked Raffensperger for another 11,780 votes to be found for him, “which is one more than we have, because we won the state”.
Speaking about the coronavirus pandemic Trump claimed credit for saving “tens of millions of lives”. On the vaccine, he said: “It would have taken five years for another president, a guy like [Biden], for the vaccine to be approved. It goes from five to 12 years. I got it done in nine months.”
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