Elon Musk said on Tuesday that he would restore former US President Donald Trump's banned account on Twitter if his deal to acquire the company is completed.
"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.
The world's richest man Musk called the ban a "morally bad decision," saying permanent bans undermine trust in Twitter.
"If there are tweets that are wrong and bad, those should be either deleted or made invisible, and a suspension--a temporary suspension--is appropriate, but not a permanent ban," said Musk.
"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," he added.
The Tesla tycoon's USD 44 billion takeover bid was accepted by Twitter's board of directors last month, but it still needs regulatory approval. Trump has said he would have no interest in rejoining Twitter even if his account were reinstated, insisting that he plans instead to stick with his fledgling social media network, Truth Social.
Last week, Musk denied a report that Trump had encouraged him to buy Twitter, tweeting that he has had "no communication, directly or indirectly," with the former president.
Trump was permanently suspended from Twitter following the January 6 Capitol Riot for violating the platform's rules against violence incitement, a decision the company has said was headed by Jack Dorsey. Twitter declined to comment on Musk's comments.
Trump, for his part, has said he would not return to Twitter even if his account were restored, instead of promoting his own social media venture, Truth Social.
Musk agreed last month to buy Twitter in a USD 44 billion deal. However, he said that the transaction wasn't a done deal and that several steps, including a Twitter shareholder vote, still needed to be completed. (ANI)