Three insights into Elon Musk’s brief, narcissism-fueled reign over Twitter

Photo (cc) 2013 by Scott Beale / Laughing Squid

When we learned last spring that Elon Musk might buy Twitter and transform it into some sort of troll- and bot-infested right-wing hellhole, my first thought was: Bring it on. Although I’m a heavy user, I had no great affection for the service, which was already something of a mess. If Musk ran it into a ditch, well, what of it?

On second thought, I realized I would miss it — and so would a lot of other people. In particular, Twitter has become an important service in calling out injustice around the world as well as a forum that gives Black users a voice they might not have anywhere else. My friend Callie Crossley was talking about Black Twitter on the late, lamented “Beat the Press with Emily Rooney” ages ago. Black Twitter could go elsewhere, of course, but it would be hard to recreate on the same scale that it exists now.

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For now, I’m staying, but I’m also playing around. Mastodon meets a lot of my needs (I’m @dankennedy_nu@journa.host), mainly because a lot of media and political people I want to follow immediately made the move. But, so far, I see none of the non-Trump conservatives whose presence I value and very few Black users. That may be my fault, and it may change. I’m also skeptical of Mastodon’s extreme decentralization, with each server (called an instance) having its own rules of engagement. I’m also on Post News at @dankennedy_nu, but I really don’t like the micropayment scheme on which it’s staked its future, explained at Nieman Lab by Laura Hazard Owen.

Twitter really does matter. It may be the smallest of the social platforms, but it’s a place where people in media and politics have to be. I’m not sure it can be replicated. So much has been written and said about Twitter over the past few weeks, and no one could possible keep up with it all. Here, though, are three pieces that I think cut through the murk as well as any.

The first is from Dr. Meredith Clark, my colleague at Northeastern’s School of Journalism. Professor Clark is a leading authority on Black Twitter and the author of the forthcoming book “We Tried to Tell Y’all: Black Twitter and the Rise of Digital Counternarratives.” Meredith says she’s staying. In a recent interview with Michel Martin of NPR, she explained why:

We’re digging in our heels. We’ve been on this platform. We’ve contributed so much to it that we’ve made it valuable in the way that it is today. We’ve made it an asset, and so no, we’re not going anywhere. And then I see other people, honestly, who have more privilege, a number of academics who are saying, nope, we’re going somewhere else. We’re leaving for other platforms.

But I do really think that there are limits to those relationships because there aren’t many platforms that allow many speakers to talk to one another all at the same time in the same place. My use hasn’t changed all that much. I don’t plan to be one of those people who migrate. I just tweeted the other day that I’ll be the last one to turn the lights off if that’s what I need to be, because I’m certainly not going either.

By the way, Meredith was a guest earlier this year on “What Works: The Future of Local News,” a podcast hosted by Ellen Clegg and me. You can listen to our conversation here.

Taking the opposite approach is Jelani Cobb, dean of the Columbia Journalism School, who has suspended his Twitter account in favor of Mastodon — a step that he admits has cut him out of numerous conversations, but that he believed was necessary in order not to be a part of Musk’s transformation of Twitter into a reflection of his own obsessions and ego. Like Clark, Dr. Cobb is Black; unlike Clark, his reasoning makes no mention of Black Twitter per se, although he does note its value in bringing to light racial injustices. “Were it not for social media,” Cobb writes in The New Yorker, “George Floyd — along with Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor — would likely have joined the long gallery of invisible dead Black people, citizens whose bureaucratized deaths were hidden and ignored.” But that, he emphasizes, was then:

Participating in Twitter — with its world-spanning reach, its potential to radically democratize our discourse along with its virtue mobs and trolls — always required a cost-benefit analysis. That analysis began to change, at least for me, immediately after Musk took over. His reinstatement of Donald Trump’s account made remaining completely untenable. Following an absurd Twitter poll about whether Trump should be allowed to return, Musk reinstated the former President. The implication was clear: if promoting the January 6, 2021, insurrection — which left at least seven people dead and more than a hundred police officers injured — doesn’t warrant suspension to Musk, then nothing else on the platform likely could.

My own view of Trump’s reinstatement is rather complicated. On the one hand, I don’t think it’s easy to justify banning a major presidential candidate, which Trump now surely is. On the other hand, he was banned for fomenting violence — and now that he’s been given another chance, he’s likely to do it again, which means he’ll have to be banned all over again. Except that he won’t be with Musk in charge. (So far, at least, Trump hasn’t tweeted since his reinstatement.) In any case, I respect Cobb’s decision, even if I’m still not quite there.

I’ll close with Josh Marshall, editor of the liberal website Talking Points Memo. Like me, Marshall is dipping his toe into Mastodon’s waters while maintaining his presence on Twitter. And, like me, he’s trying to figure out exactly what Musk is up to. The other day he offered a theory that doesn’t explain all of it, but may explain some of it — especially the part that plays into Musk’s emotions and sense of grievance, which may prove to be the most important in understanding what’s going on.

Marshall sees Musk as traveling a path previously taken by Donald Trump. Like Trump, Musk is a narcissist who can’t imagine a world that doesn’t revolve around his every need and want. Also like Trump in, say 2015, Musk was until recently someone with vague right-wing proclivities who has hardened his views and openly embraced white supremacy and antisemitism because we liberals hurt his feelings. Trump and Musk have both taken up with horrible people because they were offering support and friendship when no one else would. With Trump, it’s Nick Fuentes and Kanye West. With Musk, it’s, well, Trump and his sycophants. Marshall writes:

I doubt very much that in mid-2015 Trump had any real familiarity with the arcana of racist and radical right groups, their keywords or ideological touch-points. But they knew he was one of them, perhaps even more than he did. They pledged their undying devotion and his narcissism did the rest.

Elon Musk is on the same path. There are various theories purporting to explain Musk’s hard right turn: a childhood in apartheid South Africa, his connection with Peter Thiel, disappointments in his personal life. Whatever the truth of the matter, whatever right-leaning tendencies he may have had before a couple years ago appear to have been latent or unformed. Now the transformation is almost complete. He’s done with general “free speech” grievance and springing for alternative viewpoints. He’s routinely pushing all the far right storylines from woke groomers to Great Replacement.

If anything good can come of this it may be that we hit peak social media a few years ago. Facebook is shrinking, especially among anyone younger than 60. TikTok is huge, but as a number of observers have pointed out, it isn’t really a social platform — it’s a broadcaster with little in the way of user interaction. Now Twitter is splitting apart.

This may be temporary. Maybe Mark Zuckerberg or (most likely) someone else will be able to reassemble social media around the metaverse. For now, though, social media may be broken in a way we couldn’t have imagined in, say, 2020. Perhaps that’s not such a bad thing — although I wouldn’t mind if someone put Twitter back together again, only this time minus the trolls, the bots and the personal abuse that defined the site long before Musk came along.

Covering Trump: Will the third time be the charm?

On Thursday I put together a brief lecture on how the media ought to cover Donald Trump’s third presidential campaign. I thought of writing a blog post about it — but then decided I could save time and just post the slides. I’m not going to do this often, but I’m curious to know whether you think this is effective or not.

Did Maggie Haberman withhold news in order to sell books? It’s complicated.

Longtime “Beat the Press” watchers and listeners know that one of our obsessions over the years has been news reporters who withhold juicy details in order to save them for the books they’re writing. It’s something that our host, Emily Rooney, has brought up a number of times, with Bob Woodward a frequent target of her pique. And there’s no question that it’s a problem.

The latest journalist to come under criticism for this practice is Maggie Haberman of The New York Times, whose new book about Donald Trump, “Confidence Man,” has some previously unheard revelations — chief among them Trump’s insistence that he wasn’t going to step down from the presidency after he lost the 2020 election to Joe Biden. “I’m just not going to leave,” Trump supposedly told an unnamed aide, which drew a rant from Susie Banikarim on the “Beat the Press” podcast a few weeks ago. “Now that is information I think the American public probably needed to know,” she said. “It is an important piece of the puzzle, and I just I think it’s depressing when journalists do this. It feels so cynical.”

I agree — with some caveats. I want to draw your attention to this excellent analysis by Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple, who defends Haberman and argues that much of the outrage being directed against her by the likes of “Never Trump” conservative Steve Schmidt and others is grounded in the mistaken notion that if only this factoid or that aside had been exposed in real time, the entire Trump presidency would have come crashing down.

“For six years running,” Wemple writes, “Trump’s fiercest critics have been pining for the perfect scandal that would harpoon his political viability once and for all — even though promising candidates, such as the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape and his suggestion to inject bleach as a COVID treatment, have fallen short.” To that I would add Trump’s trashing of John McCain’s war heroism and his mocking of a disabled reporter, neither of which stopped him from defeating Hillary Clinton in the Electoral College in 2020.

I mean, come on. Does anyone really think that if Haberman had reported Trump’s threat not to leave the White House at the time he issued it (she told Wemple she didn’t have it until later), then congressional Republicans would have stood up as one and demanded Trump’s resignation? After all, their outrage over his stoking of an attempted insurrection not long after that lasted maybe 72 hours before they all fell back in line.

Haberman also told Wemple that she did emerge from her book-writing cocoon several times to report stories that she and her editors at the Times believed were too important to sit on, including Trump’s habit of flushing documents down the toilet and concerns that Mike Pence’s chief of staff raised to the Secret Service that the vice president might be in danger during his visit to Capitol Hill to count the vote as a result of Trump’s violent rhetoric. She dropped that one just before a meeting of the Jan. 6 commission. So she gets it.

Haberman has been a lightning rod among anti-Trumpers for a long time. Their complaint is that she’s supposedly traded access in return for toning down her reporting. I can’t see it. As far as I can tell, her critics want her to layer on the pejoratives in her reporting, but that’s not her job. Whenever I see her byline, I dive right in, knowing that I’m going to learn something new and possibly important about Trump — who is, after all, an ongoing threat to our democracy. And Haberman gives us a lot to read. As NPR media reporter David Folkenflik noted on the public radio program “On the Media,” Haberman bylined or co-bylined 599 stories in 2016. Her productivity is a source of astonishment.

Speaking of Folkenflik, you should listen to his interview with her, in which he presses her pretty hard on the matter of withholding information for her book. She pushes back just as hard. It’s a feisty and enlightening exchange. Her interview with Trevor Noah, which I’ve embedded above, is also worth your time, though Noah gives her the softball treatment.

Newt Gingrich and the Republican Party’s devolution into white supremacy

Newt Gingrich. Photo (cc) 2010 by Gage Skidmore.

The Washington Post today has an excerpt from Dana Milbank’s new book, “The Deconstructionists: The Twenty-Five Year Crackup of the Republican Party.” Here’s a free link so you can read the whole thing. Milbank offers some pretty bracing stuff. For instance:

Admittedly, I’m partisan — not for Democrats but for democrats. Republicans have become an authoritarian faction fighting democracy — and there’s a perfectly logical reason for this: Democracy is working against Republicans.

Milbank traces the degeneration of the Republican Party into an antidemocratic force animated by white supremacy to the rise of Newt Gingrich in the early ’90s. I’d go back further than that, but there’s no question that Gingrich represented something new and terrible, or that it reached its full flowering in the form of Donald Trump.

The day after: Pence’s integrity, Cheney’s revenge and Cipollone’s weakness

Mike Pence. Photo (cc) 2016 by Gage Skidmore.

Three quick thoughts on Thursday’s hearing by the Jan. 6 commission.

• I know a lot of people on my side of the ideological divide who give Mike Pence little credit for his actions during the attempted violent coup. I disagree. Look, he’s a religious-right Republican who was attached to Donald Trump at the hip from the moment Trump picked him as his running mate. But when everything was on the line, Pence didn’t hesitate to act with courage and integrity. He deserves our gratitude.

• Like everyone, I laughed at the video of Josh Hawley hightailing it away from the insurrectionist mob. But my reaction to the slo-mo replay was one of awed appreciation. It struck me as Liz Cheney’s handiwork — a giant “screw you” to a highly deserving target. She learned at the feet of the master. She can’t waterboard Hawley, although she’d probably like to. But she can humiliate him. Well done.

• I am weirdly fascinated by former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, who is either the best of the bad guys or the worst of the good guys. He’s certainly no hero. Yes, he may have been among the last people in Trump’s inner circle who was giving him rational, reality-based advice, but so what? And he’s still protecting Trump, refusing to answer questions about what Trump told him under the guise of attorney-client privilege.

Say it again: Bad data, not bad reporting, is what led to media failures in 2016

Photo (cc) 2005 by stu_spivack

This drives me crazy. In a New York Times review of Katy Tur’s new memoir, “Rough Draft,” Joanna Coles writes about Tur’s coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign:

Tur, then in her early 30s, spent 510 exhausting days on the road for NBC News pursuing Trump and quickly realized — contrary to the opinion of her newsroom and the assumptions of the mainstream media — that he absolutely could win.

I’m sorry, but the idea that the media failed because they were hermetically sealed in their blue bicoastal bubbles — and that intrepid reporters like Tur were more in touch with what was happening — is perniciously wrong. It’s a myth that’s led to hundreds if not thousands of stories about Donald Trump voters in diners (do yourself a favor and read this), grounded in the false belief that if only journalists had been listening to working-class white voters in swing states they wouldn’t have been quite so secure in their belief that Hillary Clinton was going to win.

In fact, those predictions that Clinton would easily beat Trump were based not on smug assumptions or a lack of reporting. They were based on data. Poll after poll, conducted by smart, experienced pollsters, showed that Trump had no chance. The polls were off, but not by as much as we think. After all, Clinton did win the popular vote by nearly 3 million. In percentage terms, Trump (46.1%) didn’t even do as well as Mitt Romney (47.2%) four years earlier. It’s just that Clinton piled up her margin in the wrong states, allowing Trump to eke out a tiny Electoral College victory. It’s a problem that’s only going to get worse unless we make some long-overdue changes to the Constitution, as I wrote recently.

My point is not to relitigate the 2016 election. Rather, it’s to remind us of why the media got it wrong. This is a big country. For every enthusiastic Trump rally, there were others with scores of empty seats. For every flat Clinton appearance, there were those where she and the crowd were energized. Anecdotal evidence, no matter how much of it you accumulate, is of limited value. The media didn’t blow it because they weren’t listening to Trumpers. They blew it because they believed the data. Ask yourself this: If those Nate Silver-style projections showed Trump, rather than Clinton, with a 70% chance of victory, do you think the press would have ignored that? Of course not.

Then again, why is media failure defined by getting predictions wrong? Democracy would have been better served if the press had spent more time simply covering the campaign and less time trying to figure out who was going to win.

By the way, Tur sounds like a pretty amazing person as well as a fine reporter.

Ron DeSantis, public education and the authoritarian impulse

Ron DeSantis. Photo (cc) 2017 by Gage Skidmore.

Update: CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale reports that faculty and students would not be required to answer the survey, although colleges and universities will be required to administer it.

There isn’t a high-ranking elected official in the country today who embraces repression more than Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida.

DeSantis, a Republican who’s positioning himself to run for president in 2024 if Donald Trump doesn’t — or maybe even if he does — has a particular fixation on education, pushing through the state’s notorious “don’t say gay” law (which prohibits classroom instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity) and, through his allies, banning three professors at the University of Florida from serving as expert witnesses in a lawsuit against the state involving its restrictive voting-rights law (he backed down).

The latest outrage is a bill DeSantis signed into law this week that requires public universities to conduct a survey in which faculty members and students would be required asked to reveal their political beliefs. As Ana Ceballos reports in the Tampa Bay Times, the measure is part of DeSantis’ ongoing war against leftist beliefs on campus, and that “budget cuts could be looming if universities and colleges are found to be ‘indoctrinating’ students.” She quotes DeSantis as saying:

It used to be thought that a university campus was a place where you’d be exposed to a lot of different ideas. Unfortunately, now the norm is, these are more intellectually repressive environments. You have orthodoxies that are promoted, and other viewpoints are shunned or even suppressed.

Writing in Salon, Brett Bachman adds: “Based on the bill’s language, survey responses will not necessarily be anonymous — sparking worries among many professors and other university staff that they may be targeted, held back in their careers or even fired for their beliefs.”

Freedom of expression on college campuses has become a crusade on the right — yet it seems that the more grotesque examples of campus censorship come from the right, whether it be a campaign to delay tenure for the 1619 Project journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones at the University of North Carolina, to Trump’s threat in 2019 to cut federal funds to institutions that failed to protect free speech as defined by him, to DeSantis’ various outbursts.

DeSantis is one of the most dangerous politicians in the U.S. — a smarter, more disciplined Trump who might very well win the 2024 election, especially given the media’s desire to normalize him and get back to the business of covering politics like a sporting event. His attempts to silence the academy ought to serve as a signal as to what he’s really all about: the unsmiling face of authoritarianism.

There’s nothing hypocritical about calling out the tyranny of the minority

Benjamin Harrison. Photo (cc) 1998 by Monroedb1. Painting by T.C. Steele.

I recently sketched out some ideas for how the Constitution could be rewritten in order to get ourselves out of a dilemma that’s become a crisis — rule by a shrinking minority of voters, grounded in the reality that our smallest states have disproportionate power in the Electoral College and the Senate.

The most immediate result is that we now have a Supreme Court with three members who were chosen by a president who lost the popular vote and confirmed by Republican senators who represented far fewer Americans than the Democrats who voted against them. If that’s not a crisis of legitimacy, I don’t know what is.

After I wrote that post, the feedback I got on Twitter was partly favorable, partly unfavorable. I think the most substantive criticism is that I’m being hypocritical — that I wouldn’t care if the situation were reversed. I’ll plead guilty to one small part of that argument: I’m thinking that the time may have come to trim the Supreme Court’s immense powers, and that’s something that didn’t bother me when it was issuing landmark decisions on reproductive rights and same-sex marriage. (Then again, more rights shouldn’t be controversial since no one is being forced to avail themselves of those rights.)

But for the larger point I was trying to make? No, no hypocrisy. And that’s because the situation we find ourselves in is unprecedented, at least not since the Gilded Age. I recall sitting in the green room a few weeks before Election Day in 2000, waiting to go on “Beat the Press,” when one of the other panelists, Tom Fiedler, started talking about the possibility that the popular-vote winner might lose in the Electoral College. Impossible, I replied. These things have a way of working themselves out. After all, it had been 112 years since Benjamin Harrison, a Republican, had been installed as president despite losing the popular vote to Democrat Grover Cleveland. It wasn’t going to happen again.

Well, we all know how the 2000 election unfolded. George W. Bush became  president thanks to the Electoral College, even though Al Gore won the popular vote. But that seemed like an outlier, and we were all far more riveted by the shenanigans in Florida than we were by the undemocratic nature of Bush’s victory. The belief that Bush stole Florida overshadowed the Electoral College issue.

What drove the Electoral College to the forefront, of course, was the 2016 election, which Hillary Clinton won by nearly 3 million votes. Thanks to the way the vote broke down geographically, Donald Trump won the Electoral College. In 2020, Joe Biden won by 7 million votes — a landslide by modern standards — yet still came uncomfortably close to losing in the Electoral College. It’s not at all inconceivable that the next Republican to win the Electoral College will also lose the popular vote by 8 million to 10 million people.

The Senate is, if anything, even less democratic. Tiny Wyoming (581,000 residents) gets two senators, who are virtually guaranteed of being Republican. California’s 39 million residents are also represented by just two senators, both Democrats. Yet at least in the post-New Deal era, the situation in the Senate was muddled enough that such geographic inequities didn’t really come into play. The Senate was Democratic for virtually all of that time, but the racist Southern Democrats really made the Senate a three-party body. Northern Democrats often worked with liberal and moderate Republicans (yes, there really were some). Coalition-building was possible. The filibuster was rarely used.

In today’s New York Times, Jamelle Bouie, whose writings on the Constitution and the state of democracy are indispensable, has this to say:

As for the constitutional crisis, it is arguably already here. Both the insurrection and the partisan lawmaking of the Supreme Court have thrown those counter-majoritarian features of the American system into sharp relief. They’ve raised hard questions about the strength and legitimacy of institutions that allow minority rule — and allow it to endure. It is a crisis when the fundamental rights of hundreds of millions of Americans are functionally overturned by an unelected tribunal whose pivotal members owe their seats to a president who won office through the mechanism of the Electoral College, having lost the majority of voters in both of his election campaigns.

Our current system favors geography over people and the interests of the minority over those of the majority. This has nothing to do with minority rights. A properly functioning liberal democracy is ruled by the majority with certain rights guaranteed so that government doesn’t deteriorate into a tyranny of the majority. Like, you know, not being forced to quarter troops in your home in peacetime. Or the right to a speedy and public trial. Or the right to exercise control over your own body, or marry the partner of your choosing.

I truly believe that when something can’t go on forever, then it won’t. At some point, the majority is going to rise up and demand change. Imagine what would happen if the next Republican presidential candidate loses the popular vote by 10 million yet wins the Electoral College with the help of dirty tricks in a few Republican states — dirty tricks that are being enshrined into law even as we speak. You can say that Democratic leaders won’t do anything, or won’t do enough. But you know what? It’s going to be taken out of their hands.

I wish you all a great Independence Day — and I look forward to a day when we can all reclaim our independence.

How a super-empowered minority and our outmoded Constitution upended Roe

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is so huge and terrible that it’s difficult to get our arms around it. So let me just look at a small chunk of it — the deeply undemocratic nature of our electoral system. You can find various polls with differently worded questions, but, in general, the public was firmly in favor of retaining Roe before Thursday’s decision. So how did we get here?

I’ve written about this before, but it’s worth repeating. A healthy modern democracy is based on the will of the majority, with protections in place for the minority. That’s why we have the Bill of Rights. Unfortunately, we now have a situation where a minority of voters is so super-empowered that how the majority votes almost doesn’t matter. Consider:

  • Donald Trump’s three Supreme Court justices — Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett — were nominated by a president who lost the popular vote in 2016 by nearly 3 million votes. That’s a significant margin. But because the Electoral College favors small states, which are mostly Republican, Trump was able to defeat Hillary Clinton.
  • Those three justices were confirmed by a Republican Senate that represented far fewer Americans than the Democratic senators did. In the current 50-50 Senate, Democrats represent nearly 42 million more people than Republicans. That’s because each state gets two senators, regardless of population.
  • The skew is only getting worse as liberals move to more urban areas. Indeed, you can expect that one of the effects of the Roe decision is that young people will flock to urban areas in blue states — thus empowering small-state Republicans even more.

If something can’t go on forever, then it won’t. More than half the country isn’t going to put up with being permanently disempowered. I don’t know how we get from here to there, and make the changes we need to our outmoded 18th-century Constitution, but I’m confident that we will. Change looks impossible — then, suddenly, everything changes all at once.

The Globe is named a Pulitzer finalist for editorials about post-Trump reforms

Photo (cc) 2021 by Brett Davis

A great editorial should persuade and effect change. But what if there is little or no chance that urgently needed reforms will be enacted? That was the challenge facing The Boston Globe editorial board last year when it published a series of essays arguing that the loopholes enabling Donald Trump’s corruption as president need to be closed so that nothing like it can happen again.

The editorials, by board member Abdallah Fayyad, were recognized Monday with a Pulitzer Prize finalist’s citation for “a persuasive editorial series arguing that the president of the United States could be prosecuted for crimes committed in office.” It was the closest that the Globe came to winning a 2022 Pulitzer. As Fayyad wrote:

Presidents in a democratic system of government are not meant to be able to extract personal profits from government service — or hand out pardons to imprisoned buddies, pervert justice, or foment an insurrection. That’s the promise of democracy: that it will be superior to these authoritarian tendencies of tyrants and kings. When these laws and norms are violated, they should be backed up by severe consequences if that democracy is to maintain its integrity. But right now, as it stands after Trump’s four years in office, American presidents can, in fact, commit all those abuses — and suffer little more than losing their Twitter account.

Nothing has changed. And given Trump’s continued vice grip on the Republican Party, which exercises effective veto power over any reform Congress might try to enact, nothing is going to change — at least not anytime soon.

Still, it’s worth laying down some markers. It was undeniably a good thing for a major journalistic institution like the Globe to explain why Trump was able to get away with all of it, and what it would take to prevent a future president (perhaps Trump himself) from engaging in the same kind of misconduct.

In the Globe’s own coverage of Monday’s announcement, Fayyad said: “It was surreal seeing my name up there on the broadcast alongside such great journalists. But I knew the project was deserving of this recognition because it wasn’t just my work; it took a whole team to make the series what it was — an amazing team at that.”

By the way, it looks like even the minor slap on the wrist Trump received by having his Twitter account canceled was only a temporary setback. Elon Musk, who’s poised to buy Twitter, said earlier today that he would allow the former president back onto the platform.