Trump Reportedly Demanded An Ownership Stake In Parler In Exchange For Posting There Exclusively (Which He Never Did)

Donald Trump, adrift in a world without Twitter, could really use a social media lifeline to prevent him from scribbling down insults and hoping a carrier pigeon happens to fly by. His reticence to join Parler in the wake of his getting removed from Twitter was a curiosity to some, especially given how many of his supporters flocked to the MAGA-friendly service in the aftermath of his November election loss. But now we may know a bit more about why he never joined Parler before it was booted from app stores and Amazon’s server space: he tried (and failed) to negotiate a deal to join.

According to Buzzfeed, Trump and his surrogates were negotiating him joining Parler in exchange for an ownership stake in the company while he was still in office. The talks apparently never got anywhere, in part because, well, it would almost certainly be against the law:

Former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale raised the idea to Trump of taking an ownership stake in Parler during a meeting last year at the White House, according to a source familiar with the negotiations. Parscale had taken an early interest in Parler, and reportedly considered creating an account for Trump on the site in 2019 as a bulwark against Twitter and Facebook.

Four sources told BuzzFeed News that Parscale and Trump campaign lawyer Alex Cannon met with Parler CEO John Matze and shareholders Dan Bongino and Jeffrey Wernick at Trump’s Florida club Mar-a-Lago in June 2020 to discuss the idea. But the White House counsel’s office soon put a stop to the talks, one person with knowledge of the discussions said, ruling that such a deal while Trump was president would violate ethics rules.

There are a lot of wild and unprecedented things Trump did during his four years in office, and the nonexistent separation between his work as president and his business deals remains near the top of the list even after “inciting a coup attempt” was added to it. But negotiating a business deal to join a social media service as a part-owner after getting kicked off Twitter for being too dangerous to America is certainly a new wrinkle to Trump’s chaos. And despite him not being fully involved in the talks, the idea that surrogates of his had the power to organize these sort of potential talks provides a lens into the extremely unusual nature of the Trump presidency.

Buzzfeed reported that those early 2020 talks were revived once Trump lost the November election, but that they “fell apart” after the January 6 MAGA riot that left five people dead following an attack on the U.S. Capitol that Trump helped to incite:

However, in negotiations with the Trump Organization, Parler offered a 40% stake in the company, according to a December document seen by BuzzFeed News and two people with direct knowledge of the proposed deal. Upon completion of that deal, half of that stake would have been given immediately to the Trump Organization, while the other half would have been doled out in tranches over the 24-month period of the agreement.

Meanwhile, a deplatformed Trump has reportedly resorted to writing down mean tweets about those who have betrayed him, sometimes trying to get others to tweet his ghost-written insults. This news came Friday from a story in The Daily Beast about Trump’s reaction to Liz Cheney voting to impeach Trump and seeing backlash from fellow Republicans:

People close to Trump say he views Cheney’s immediate fortunes as one of the first tests of his lasting influence on the party and conservative movement.

But due to Twitter’s banning of the @realDonaldTrump account following the Capitol riot that Trump instigated, he has not been able to personally trash Cheney via his once widely read tweets. He has written out insults and observations, several of them about Cheney, but with no ability to tweet them himself, he has resorted to suggesting put-downs for others to use or post to their own Twitter, according to a person with direct knowledge of this new habit.

It’s a depressing fate for one of the few True Posters out there, but it’s probably safer for the state of democracy, all things considered.

[via Buzzfeed, The Daily Beast]