Banned by Facebook and Twitter, Donald Trump has gone back to the future with an online communication tool that might be described as a glorified blog.
His retro webpage, billed “From the Desk of Donald J Trump”, appears at DonaldJTrump.com/desk and features a small photo of the 45th president writing in a book on his desk.
A video includes archive material announcing Trump’s ban from Twitter and images of his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida and of a desktop, overlaid by captions: “In a time of silence and lies, a beacon of freedom arises. A place to speak freely and safely. Straight from the desk of Donald J Trump.”
Below the video are a series of Trump statements resembling blogposts, of which the most recent begins: “Heartwarming to read new polls on big-shot warmonger Liz Cheney of the great State of Wyoming.”
Cheney is under fire from fellow Republicans loyal to Trump’s claims that he actually won the 2020 election, because she publicly calls out the lie and has strongly criticised the 6 January insurrection at the US Capitol by extremist Trump supporters.
Tabs on Trump’s new website allow users to like or share the posts on their own Facebook or Twitter accounts, but there is no option for them to reply.
Visitors are also invited to “sign up for alerts”, so that Trump’s musings can be beamed directly into their inboxes. Perhaps unsurprisingly, options to “shop” and “contribute” figure prominently.
A footnote says the tool is funded jointly by the ex-president’s Save America and Make America Great Again political action committees.
When the page was unveiled on Tuesday, social media erupted with comment – and mockery – suggesting that Trump’s long-awaited return to social media owed much to platforms such as Blogger, launched in 1999.
But Jason Miller, a senior adviser to the former president, sought to provide a clarification – via Twitter.
“President Trump’s website is a great resource to find his latest statements and highlights from his first term in office, but this is not a new social media platform,” he wrote. “We’ll have additional information coming on that front in the very near future.”
Twitter announced it had banned Trump permanently after the US Capitol attack for breaking its “glorification of violence” rules.
Facebook also banned him, with its chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, saying “the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great”.
But Facebook’s independent oversight board is expected to announce on Wednesday whether it is overturning the suspension.
In the meantime Trump, exiled at his private Mar-a-Lago residence and club in Palm Beach after leaving office in defeat and disgrace, has been sending press releases to journalists.
They are often in a style reminiscent of his tweets, with capital letters, exclamation marks and misspellings. But they no longer drive the day’s agenda or cable news chyrons as his presidential missives once did.