Former President Donald Trump’s third bid for the presidency is being called “rocky,” “nothing but nightmares,” and “slow.” His popularity among Republicans is down and Trump isn’t helping matters by conducting his campaign from his couch at Mar-a-Lago.
Twitter may have just thrown Trump’s floundering 2024 campaign a lifeline. This week, the company reinstated two of Trump’s most loyal supporters: political operative Roger Stone and Islamophobe Laura Loomer.
Stone was banned in 2017 for attacking journalists. Loomer was banned a year later for hate speech.
Stone announced his triumphant return to Twitter in a tweet thanking Elon Musk on Wednesday. On Thursday morning, Loomer posted that Twitter had also lifted her ban. She thanked Musk.
The reinstatements appear to be part of the “amnesty” plan that Musk announced in late November.
Neither Stone’s nor Loomer’s accounts are verified for now, but both have retained hundreds of thousands of followers.
Fans of Loomer and Stone celebrated their return with an outpouring of tweets welcoming them back.
Detractors also found their way into the comments and quote tweets.
“Musk letting all the lunatics out,” wrote one.
Stone subsequently restricted replies to people he follows or mentioned.
News of Loomer and Stone being unbanned inspired calls for Twitter to let others back on the platform, such as white nationalist Nick Fuentes, who controversially dined with Trump late last month.
Critics accused Musk of being less interested in freedom of speech than his own bottom line as he lets suspended accounts back on the platform.
“Got a feeling he’s only granting amnesty to the well known accounts that will drive revenue and traffic for him, this had nothing to do with ‘doing the right thing,’” opined @brittanysaidwut.
Since Musk took over the company, it appears that the majority of the accounts Twitter has reinstated have been controversial right-wing figures. Many conservatives believe this is because the platform was biased against them; leftists counter that right-wing figures are more likely to run afoul of policies governing hate speech, disinformation, and harassment.
Trump was banned after the Capitol riot over concerns that he would continue to use Twitter to incite his supporters to attack the government.
Loomer and Stone have stuck by Trump’s side even as other allies and supporters turned their backs on him in the nearly three years since the riot.
It’s not clear how much political capital either retains at this point. Loomer has run two unsuccessful campaigns for Congress and Stone has been linked to far-right groups involved in the Capitol riot. The Oath Keepers, whose leaders were recently convicted of sedition, reportedly provided Stone with security during the riot.
Both will likely use what clout they still have to be some of the loudest mouthpieces for Trump on the platform he has yet to return to, although Musk already reinstated his account.
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*First Published: Dec 8, 2022, 10:35 am CST
Claire Goforth is a staff writer at the Daily Dot covering all things politics and technology with a focus on the far right and conspiracy theories.