by James Billot
Monday, 11
January 2021
Explainer
07:00

After Twitter, where will Donald Trump go next?

He has a number of options, none of which are perfect
by James Billot
Where will Trump go next? DOMINICK REUTER/AFP via Getty Images

56,571 tweets, 88 million followers and a 12-year career on the channel. Donald Trump is said to have gone “ballistic” after Twitter permanently closed his account this week, marking an end to a fractious and weirdly co-dependent relationship with the social media giant. Though his presidential account remains intact, it will only be in Trump’s hands for nine more days until it is passed on to Joe Biden (in another example of norm-breaking behaviour, the Trump team has decided to erase the account of its followers instead of passing them down).

With Trump also banned from Facebook until he is out of office, the President, according to a White House statement (in a now-deleted tweet), is now “negotiating with various other sites” as to where he will go next. Here are his options.

The Gab-Parler nexus

‘Twitter for Nazis’ to their critics and valuable free speech havens to their fans, social media platforms Gab and Parler have become an increasingly attractive venue for all stripes of the Right in recent years. They form a prominent part of the broader constellation of fringe sites on the Trumpnet, which also includes the likes of MeWe, DLiv and Rumble.

Joining these platforms would allow Trump to communicate directly with his most loyal supporters without the meddling interference of Facebook and Twitter technocrats. But herein also lies the challenge — without the blessing of Palo Alto, Trump could find himself “disappeared” once again. Just this week, Amazon and Google suspended Parler for its failure to remove posts for inciting violence on its app store, joining Gab, which has been banned for three years.

Substack

A popular choice for heterodox columnists discarded by liberal publications, Substack has been a boon to opinion journalism. Writers on the platform can generate millions of dollars in yearly revenue, it is known to have a very robust attitude to free speech and even if a tiny percentage of Trump’s base paid for a subscription, this income could go some way to bankrolling a 2024 run.

However, longer-form writing has never been Trump’s favoured medium. Deemed ‘post-literate’ by Michael Wolff, the president has always preferred to delegate such responsibilities. And since falling out with his ghost writer, it remains unclear as to who will be tasked with transcribing Trump’s peregrinations onto paper.

Patreon podcast

Like Substack, a Patreon podcast would have the benefit of independent, crowd-sourced funding. Not only would subscribers have access to weekly streams of consciousness from the ‘Hemingway of 140 characters’, but they would also be treated to exclusive content each week: what did The Donald think of Vladimir Putin? Was he really going to nuke North Korea? Any mistakes and/or regrets?

But as popular as podcasting may be, it is difficult to picture a man so fond of TV shunning the camera for a microphone.

Don Jr.

Without doubt his father’s biggest cheerleader, Don Jr told his supporters in the aftermath of the president’s banning to visit his website donjr.com for updates. The website carries a clear warning on its banner: ‘CENSORSHIP IS HAPPENING – SIGN UP TO STAY CONNECTED’.

In spite of the big, bold Trumpian aesthetic and predilection for all-caps on the site, it’s hard to imagine that Don Sr would be content for Jr to be his sole mouthpiece, and this website is likely more of a stop-gap than anything long-term. 

Build his own platform

In the now-deleted tweet-statement from the POTUS White House website, the president’s official account announced that it was “looking into possibilities of building out our own platform in the near future”.

Unfiltered and unrestricted, a donaldtrump.com platform might sound like a promising venture for Team Trump. Indeed, it will give Trump full autonomy over the site’s content and liberate him from the constrains of online censorship — or so he might think. If events of the last 12 months have proven anything, it is that there is no corner of the Internet beyond the reaches of the tech overlords — websites rely on Internet Service Providers, hosts and all sorts of infrastructure that can block an address from the world wide web. Should Trump’s website continue to attract the same kind of attention as his Twitter feed, it could theoretically endure a similar fate.

It may be his most likely next move, but even this is not a guaranteed platform.

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Blue Tev
Blue Tev
1 year ago

The bottomline is, if Trump and numerous conservatives are to be “cancelled”, then what about Senior Dem leaders, including the would VP and soon after P who: 1. cheered on the BLM riots in stronger language 2. Went to the extent of supporting bail funding for accused or allow local senior Dem officials to not take action 3. Have refused (unlike D Trump) to condemn those riots.

But they are immune, just like Iranian leaders preaching genocide against Israel, Mahathir likewise against the the French, as well as the official spokespersons of organisations less full of hate than the Republican party, such as say the Taleban or the China regime…all of them still on Twitter

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
1 year ago

‘Twitter for Nazis’
said without a trace of irony by the same people who cheer when private enterprise colludes with govt actors for the purpose of silencing dissent and opposition.

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
1 year ago

Gab is still available. They no longer rely on web services from the Technocrats. I can’t help think that if Amazon and Google can ban people and companies from their clouds so cavalierly, why would any person or company to trust them in the future.

Dave H
Dave H
1 year ago

In a lot of ways it doesn’t really matter. Wherever he ends up he’ll be preaching to the converted rather than drawing in new people.

Ralph Windsor
Ralph Windsor
1 year ago
Reply to  Dave H

The “converted”: not much less than 50% of the US electorate.

Ernest DuBrul
Ernest DuBrul
1 year ago
Reply to  Ralph Windsor

Mr. Windsor–
I suspect that no more than 10% of that “not much less than 50%” even now bother to hear or read what Trump says, be it on Twitter, Facebook, or the local press and TV news. After next week, that number will decline even more.

stephen f.
stephen f.
1 year ago

“Are you now or have you ever been a Trump sympathizer, conservative or Republican?”

kinelll086
kinelll086
1 year ago

Nothing will happen to him, he knows too much

Phil Bolton
Phil Bolton
1 year ago

It all depends upon the Republican party and whether they adopt Trump’ism as their basis. Many are embarrassed by Trump and his antics, and if they re-align themselves with their old ideologies then Trump becomes irrelevant over time. It may be that the Democrats have a few plans for Citizen Trump, for example putting pressure on the banks whose debt is funding his businesses.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
1 year ago
Reply to  Phil Bolton

Trump exposed the republican party for being a lazy but globalist party much like their opposition. The changes he has made to bring in new voters via populist ideas can’t be ignored. Between the Trump faction and the Tea Party faction, the party must change.

Graff von Frankenheim
Graff von Frankenheim
1 year ago

Look on CloutHub, he is there.

James Moss
James Moss
1 year ago

Jail.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
1 year ago

Trump is NOT A Conservative, he is A patriot Anti-Globalist,He could be Viewed As anti-military as he brought troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan..He Should concentrate on Private Prosecution of Voter Fraud and his New Financial/News Channel?..

Andrew Harvey
Andrew Harvey
1 year ago

He incited the murder of a policeman. The next place he needs to go is prison.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Harvey

Please show where he did that.

Andrew Harvey
Andrew Harvey
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

“Be there, will be wild!”

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Harvey

THAT is your evidence? Seriously? After a summer of rioting expressly supported by numerous Dems, to include the House Speaker and incoming VP, that is an especially weak brew of tea that you have offered.

Andrew Harvey
Andrew Harvey
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

If you can’t recognize Trump’s culpability, then where exactly do you get off on criticizing BLM thugs?

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Harvey

BLM thugs did a billion dollars in damage and left more than two dozen dead in rioting that was actively condoned by numerous Dems, from mayors to governors to members of Congress. And perhaps you should confront your own question – you’re accusing Trump while having ignored BLM’s antics.

“Be there, be wild” is hardly a clarion call to violence. The woman killed was unarmed. That’s not how you do insurrection. I have no problem saying the violence at the Capitol was wrong. It was. That usually applies to violence, but it’s laughable to hear the concern trolling from people who said nothing during months of riots.

Andrew Harvey
Andrew Harvey
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Seriously? Maybe you want to look at my comments concerning BLM and the Democratic Party before making accusations like that.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Harvey

Fair enough. I’ve encountered enough people who fit that description that it impacts how others look. My apologies if you’ve been consistent in denouncing such tactics.

Blue Tev
Blue Tev
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Harvey

Pls feel free to point us towards posts where you recommended sending those Democratic party leaders being sent to prison

Blue Tev
Blue Tev
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Harvey

Maybe he should also commit to providing bail money for those accused of murdering the policeman, to join the category of “good guys” like Commala Harris?