Donald Trump has discontinued the blog-type website he launched in a fanfare less than a month ago as “a beacon of freedom” and “a place to speak freely and safely”.
Jason Miller, a senior aide to the former US president, confirmed the closing of the ‘From the Desk of Donald J Trump’ online communication tool in a statement to CNBC on Wednesday, just weeks after billing the venture as “a great resource” for his boss’s musings.
Mr Miller offered no explanation for the closure, and it remains unclear if it was a voluntary move or was imposed by a third party of some kind, like Mr Trump’s removal from social media platforms including Twitter and Facebook for inciting the deadly January 6th Capitol insurrection.
But in a tweeted reply to a Republican activist questioning if the move was “a precursor to him joining another social media platform”, Mr Miller said: “Yes, actually, it is. Watch this space.”
In the statement to CNBC, Mr Miller attempted to paint the short-lived project as “auxiliary to the broader efforts we have and are working on”.
The Trump blog, a mouthpiece for his false claims about a rigged 2020 presidential election, failed to gain traction and on May 21st the Washington Post reported it had attracted a “staggeringly small audience”.
Last weekend, the website mysteriously crashed after Mr Trump posted more falsehoods about the bizarre election “audit” in Arizona that the former president says provides proof that Joe Biden’s victory was “stolen”, despite the failure of many dozens of lawsuits challenging the result, and local, state and national officials declaring that last year’s election was the most secure in US history.
Meanwhile, without evidence, Mr Trump insisted that there were “broken seals on boxes, ballots missing, and worse” in Arizona. Shortly after the entry was posted, the website reported a URL processing error, and the blog page went dark completely.
Visitors to the donaldjtrump.com website on Wednesday found only an archive of Mr Trump’s media statements dating back to January and a link to an online shop for merchandise.
Mr Trump and his acolytes have long railed against social media platforms for their perceived bias against him, and despite the apparent one-time popularity of his posts. When Trump’s account was permanently suspended from Twitter he had almost 90 million followers.
Ban not lifted
Facebook’s oversight committee, meanwhile, ruled last month that his ban should not be lifted, but left the door open for “a final decision” within six months.
The closure of his blog comes as Mr Trump, who is mulling another presidential run in 2024, prepares to return to campaign-style rallies for the first time since he incited a mob of supporters to overrun the US Capitol building on January 6th in an attempt to stop the certification of Mr Biden’s presidential victory.
On Saturday he will speak at the North Carolina Republicans’ state convention in Greenville, and is planning a series of public events over the summer in other battleground states, including Florida and Ohio. - Guardian