Trump 'tried to sell Truth Social to Musk' as SPAC deal stalled

Talk about an unholy social media alliance

Faced with mounting legal troubles and a sputtering special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) deal, former president Donald Trump reportedly turned somewhere unexpected last year to offload his flailing social media platform, Truth Social: X owner and Tesla technoking Elon Musk. 

News of the reported offer comes from the Washington Post, which cited two unnamed people with knowledge of the conversation as its sources. The talk reportedly happened during summer 2023, though the Post didn't specify when precisely the discussion took place. 

Trump launched Truth Social, essentially a Mastodon clone, in 2021 after being kicked off Twitter following his failed insurrection attempt on January 6th, a move that Musk reversed after buying Twitter and reshaping it in his own image. Ostensibly a place for freer speech than Twitter, Truth Social launched in 2022 with plans to take the platform public as soon as possible through a sale to a SPAC formed for the purpose, Digital World Acquisition Corp (DWA). 

The deal has yet to close, with the US Securities and Exchange Commission heavily criticizing the use of a Chinese firm to develop DWA. By September 2022 Trump Media and Technology Group (TMTG), parent company of Truth Social, had threatened to sue the SEC for delaying the TMTG/DWA merger. The deal continued to face delays and was still in trouble as of September 2023 - well after Trump had reportedly tried to offload Truth Social on Musk, who has already demonstrated a willingness to pay far more than the asking price for social media sites. 

The former president's money woes have become only more severe since then, with nearly half a billion in fines and penalties being assessed in two court cases, with more potential penalties still to come. Getting Musk to buy Truth Social could have been a sure-fire way to fund his future, but alas - no deal was reached. 

Neither Musk nor Trump have confirmed the alleged offer to The Register or anyone else. We received no response from either party, while The WaPo was told by TMTG that "We heard Trump and Musk were actually discussing buying the Washington Post but they decided it had no value." 

Musk, meanwhile, had told The Post that he had never been to Mar-a-Lago, Trump's Palm Beach, Florida residence, though that doesn't appear to be true any longer with the SpaceX billionaire reportedly meeting with Trump and Republican donors at the resort-cum-Trump-castle last week.

Musk said he doesn't intend to donate to either Trump or incumbent president Joe Biden, though as others have pointed out, Musk's statement doesn't exactly close the door to indirect donations. Trump is also said to have pushed for Elon Musk to speak at the upcoming Republican National Convention in July, suggesting Musk's star in the Republican party is rising. 

Either way, Trump's Truth Social woes and finances might be getting a reprieve soon. The SEC approved the deal last month, which could be worth up to $10 billion. Trump, who would hold more than half the shares of the combined company, would reportedly stand to raise his net worth by some $4 billion - more than enough to handle those legal problems without Musk's help. ®

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