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SAN FRANCISCO — Elon Musk said he would reverse Twitter’s ban on former president Donald Trump.

Musk, the Tesla CEO who is soon to own Twitter, said it was a mistake for the website to ban the former president.

“I think it was a morally bad decision to be clear and foolish in the extreme,” he said at a Future of the Car event hosted by the Financial Times.

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He added: “I do think it was not correct to ban Donald Trump. I think that was a mistake … It alienated a large part of the country and did not ultimately result in Donald Trump not having a voice.”

Twitter banned Trump in the wake of the Jan. 6 riots, citing the risk of further violence.

Musk is acquiring Twitter for roughly $44 billion, and has said he wants to promote free speech on the platform.

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Musk said Trump’s move to his own social media platform, Truth Social, was evidence of the failure of the permanent ban.

He said the result could be a forum that is “frankly worse,” where debate becomes splintered rather than unified on a platform he has described as a “de facto town square.”

Musk did not go so far as to say bans should not exist, but specified they should be exceptionally rare, and reserved for bots and scam accounts.

Asked whether Trump’s behavior merited action, Musk said, generally, “a temporary suspension is appropriate but not a permanent ban.”

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“Banning Trump from Twitter didn’t end Trump’s voice — it will amplify it from the right,” he said. “This is why it is morally wrong and flat-out stupid.”

Musk also hedged that the Twitter deal was not yet complete and there were still issues to be worked out.

Still, he said, “I guess the answer is I would reverse the permanent ban,” before adding, “I don’t own Twitter yet.”

This story is breaking and will be updated.

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