US congressman to become CEO of Trump social media firm
The company plans to launch a social media platform to rival established sites, from which Trump remains banned.
United States Representative Devin Nunes will leave Congress to become the CEO of former President Donald Trump’s fledgling social media company.
In an announcement on Monday, the Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG) said that Nunes, one of Trump’s most loyal supporters in the Capitol, will take on the new role in January 2022.
“Devin understands that we must stop the liberal media and Big Tech from destroying the freedoms that make America great,” Trump said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Nunes said the “The time has come to reopen the Internet and allow for the free flow of ideas and expression without censorship”.
“The United States of America made the dream of the Internet a reality and it will be an American company that restores the dream,” he said.
Conservatives have long railed at social media giants Facebook and Twitter for alleged censorship as both platforms have sought to shore up rampant misinformation in the face of public scrutiny.
In June, Facebook suspended Trump’s accounts for two years, following a finding that he stoked violence ahead of the January 6 storming of the US Capitol by his supporters. Trump had 35 million followers at the time his account was suspended.
Twitter also banned Trump following the incident, cutting off a direct link to his 88 million followers on the social media site.
Nunes’s appointment signals a convergence between Trump’s political and business endeavours ahead of a possible 2024 run for president.
The California congressman, who was expected to face a punishing race in next year’s midterm elections, has remained a steadfast critic of mainstream media firms.
He sued broadcaster CNN and Twitter for defamation, among other companies, seeking hundreds of millions of dollars. Both cases were thrown out by judges.
The announcement on Monday came as filings showed that federal regulators were probing the merger between TMTG and Digital World Acquisition Corporation, a blank-cheque acquisition firm. US Senator Elizabeth Warren had previously asked the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to investigate TMTG’s merger with Digital World over potential violations of securities laws.
TMTG said on Saturday it had entered into agreements to raise about $1bn from a group of unidentified investors, bringing the deal’s total proceeds to $1.25bn.
Trump announced the launch of his media company in October, saying it would include the creation of Truth Social, a Twitter-style social media app, as well as a subscription-based video streaming service that will feature entertainment programming, news and podcasts. The former president is listed as the company’s chair.
The beta version of Truth Social is set to be released in the first quarter of 2022, although few financial details have been released.
As president, Trump awarded Nunes the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
In a statement at the time, the White House credited the congressman with uncovering “the greatest scandal in American history”, referencing Nunes’s efforts to discredit an investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.