The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lauded Elon Musk after the billionaire said Tuesday that he would reverse former President Donald Trump’s Twitter ban.
“You’d be hard-pressed to find a more steadfast opponent of Trump and his policies other than the ACLU, but Elon Musk’s decision to re-platform President Trump is the right call,” ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero said in a statement.
“When a handful of individuals possess so much power over the most important forums for political speech, they should exercise that power with restraint,” he said. “If Trump violates the platform rules again, Twitter should first employ lesser penalties like removing the offending post – rather than banning a political figure.”
“Like it or not, President Trump is one of the most important political figures in this country, and the public has a strong interest in hearing his speech. Indeed, some of Trump’s most offensive tweets ended up being critical evidence in lawsuits filed against him and his administration,” Romero continued.
“And we should know — we filed over 400 legal actions against him.” (RELATED: Elon Musk Says He’s ‘Ok’ With Ending Up In Hell, Claims ‘The Vast Majority Of All Humans Ever Born Will Be There’)
Musk said Tuesday that should Trump wish to appeal his Twitter ban, he would allow the former president to return to the social media platform.
“I do think it was not correct to ban Donald Trump. 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,” Musk said.
Trump was permanently banned following the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot, with Twitter claiming he violated the platform’s policies against inciting or justifying violence.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday that it’s up to private companies to decide who will be allowed on their platforms.
“What I will say, broadly speaking, is that our effort is to of course make sure that freedom of speech is protected across the country but that also these platforms are not used for format forums for disinformation and we have seen a history of that not just on Twitter, but also on Facebook,” she added.