Republicans praise Musk’s Twitter acquisition; Democrats skeptical
Republican members of Congress celebrated news of Elon Musk acquiring Twitter on Monday, hopeful that he would restore “free speech” to the platform, while Democrats were far more skeptical of the deal.
Reacting to the $44 billion deal, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, tweeted that “Free speech is making a comeback.”
Jordan — among the most outspoken GOP critics of Big Tech — sent a letter along with 17 colleagues to Twitter’s board of directors Friday to ask them to preserve all records related to Musk’s offer to buy the company.
Republicans have accused Twitter and other platforms of anti-conservative bias, largely based on former President Trump and other prominent GOP figures being barred or suspended from the platform for repeated violations of user policy.
When Musk originally announced his bid to buy the social media giant, many Republicans cheered his offer, though he has not specified what new content moderation policies might look like or who might be invited back to the platform.
Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-N.M.) congratulated the billionaire and tweeted that she was “looking forward to a free-speech oriented twitter.”
Adding to the congratulatory posts, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) tweeted, “Today is an encouraging day for freedom of speech. I am hopeful that Elon Musk will help rein in Big Tech’s history of censoring users that have a different viewpoint.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) also asked his followers, “Is Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter a good thing?” The two answer options Cruz provided were “yes” and “no, I hate free speech.”
However, a number of Democrats were quick to criticize the Tesla and SpaceX CEO upon news of him taking over one of the world’s most influential social media networks.
Shortly after news of the buyout, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) tweeted, “Just a reminder that from 2014-2018, Elon Musk paid an effective tax rate of 3.27%. The average working family pays an average tax rate of 13%. It’s time for a wealth tax in this country.”
Rep. Jesús García (D-Ill.) said “There’s so many better uses for that money, other than buying a social media company. He could help solve world hunger, could help save local newspapers, or literally help to build bridges or schools.”
Rep. Marie Newman (D-Ill.) added “Elon Musk paid $0 in federal taxes in 2018. If he can afford Twitter, he can damn well afford to pay his fair share in taxes. We need a Billionaire Tax NOW.”
“It’s hard to wrap your mind around the concept of a billion, but time is a bit easier to understand. 1 million seconds is roughly 11.5 days. 1 billion seconds is about 31.5 years. Elon Musk just bought Twitter for $45 Billion — or in seconds, roughly 1,427 years. #TaxTheRich,” Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) added.
Musk’s deal to acquire Twitter comes after he first offered to buy all outstanding shares of the company at $54.20 a share on April 14.
“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” he said in a statement on Monday.