Donald Trump has had a rough few months. He lost the 2020 election back in November, subsequently lost all his erroneous legal challenges trying to overturn it, was impeached (a second time) for inciting a mob riot at the U.S. Capitol, and currently faces several criminal investigations that could potentially land him in jail.
But for all the Ls Trump has taken in 2021, there’s one that clearly pissed him off more than all the rest: being kicked off Twitter, his favorite social media platform. Trump was the Twitter president, using the site to bully political opponents, spread conspiracies, rile up his MAGA base, and offer up some classic grandpa opinions. Twitter hasn’t been the same without him, but it’s also clear he hasn’t been the same without Twitter.
More than two months after his permanent Twitter ban, Trump’s had enough. He’s taking matters into his own hands.
.@JasonMillerinDC said President Trump will be "returning to social media in two or three months" with "his own platform" that will "completely redefine the game" and attract "tens of millions" of new users. #MediaBuzz
— #MediaBuzz (@MediaBuzzFNC) March 21, 2021
Appearing on Fox News’ “Media Buzz,” Trump spokesperson Jason Miller said that Trump will be returning to social media with “his own platform” in the next 2-3 months. Miller also said it would attract millions of new users, and he’s right—the news quickly sent shockwaves through MAGA Twitter, with scores of users pledging their undying allegiance to the yet-unnamed Trump social media site.
Trump creating his own social media site isn’t exactly shocking news. Pro-Trump conservatives have been clamoring for their own version of Twitter or Facebook free from what they see as liberal propaganda and big tech influence. Fringe sites like Gab and Parler never really took hold; both gained slight traction when they were created and attracted more users when Trump was banned from Twitter altogether, but were quickly removed from app stores in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol Riot. Based solely on the conservative desire for a right wing social media site, Trump’s platform is sure to be successful.
But Trump is doing more than just filling a void in the market by creating a social media platform—he’s filling a void in himself. The thing Trump missed most about social media was his ability to command attention and alter news cycles with a few quick taps on his phone. Virtually every media company in America had eyes trained on his Twitter feed at all times, ready for the next absurd controversy or threat or dumb musing.
In creating his own version of Twitter, Trump surely believes he’ll once again capture the attention of the media with his every post. That likely won’t happen, given how news organization has treated his post-Twitter existence thus far. But even if he doesn’t receive the media attention he desires, he’ll still be flooded with praise and adulation from his followers and will surely monetize the platform to coax millions of dollars in donations from them.
That’s what makes creating a social media platform the perfect post-presidency move. Few predicted it for Trump, but no one can be reasonably surprised by it. In the weeks leading up to and following his last day in the White House, there was talk that Trump would use the momentum from his election challenges to start his own news network to rival Fox News. Later, rumors spread that Trump was considering creating his own political party, using his sizable base of support to buck the two-party system and shake American politics to its core.
However, we should’ve known then those were far beyond Trump’s purview. Both would require sincere belief and conviction, as well as some concrete vision of politics or the country or anything that goes beyond his own vanity. He’d have to show an actual commitment to his supporters instead of greasing them for attention and money. He’d have expend time and energy doing real work to build something to match his political vision.
But creating a Trump version of Twitter doesn’t require any of that.