- The Washington Times - Monday, November 7, 2022

Twitter owner Elon Musk is urging voters to turn control of Congress over to Republicans, seeking to sway voters ahead of Tuesday’s election on the social media platform he recently acquired.

“To independent-minded voters: Shared power curbs the worst excesses of both parties, therefore I recommend voting for a Republican Congress, given that the Presidency is Democratic,” Mr. Musk tweeted Monday.

Mr. Musk‘s endorsement of Republicans in Tuesday’s midterm elections shouldn’t surprise conservatives who cheered his takeover of Twitter and the promise of less censorship of conservative political speech on the social media platform.

Mr. Musk, who was born in South Africa and is a naturalized citizen, also has been defending his plans to change Twitter’s censorship rules, which will likely face scrutiny from federal lawmakers zeroing in on social media’s influence on U.S. politics.

While both Republican and Democratic lawmakers have questions they want to get answered by Twitter regardless of the election’s outcome, Mr. Musk may face more individual scrutiny from Democrats.

For example, Sen. Chris Murphy, Connecticut Democrat, has requested the Biden administration commence a national security review of Twitter’s business following Mr. Musk‘s takeover. Mr. Murphy justified his investigatory request last week by citing the company’s previous investment from Saudi Arabia, which predated the billionaire’s takeover.

SEE ALSO: Elon Musk spars with Kathy Griffin, defends Twitter censorship plans after bans of impersonators

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York Democrat, also feuded with the SpaceX and Tesla CEO on Twitter last week over his plans to charge users on the social media platform.

Mr. Musk said he tailored his election advice to swing voters because he did not believe hardcore Democrats and Republicans would cross party lines.

Mr. Musk‘s decision to wade into electoral politics on the eve of an election may rankle his political opponents, but his Republican sympathies are not entirely new. In June, Mr. Musk predicted a “massive red wave in 2022” and said he voted for a Republican for the first time in a Texas special election.

Mr. Musk also publicly shared his thoughts about the direction of the Republican Party and suggested that it is time for the GOP to move away from former President Donald Trump. He tweeted in July that it was time for Mr. Trump to quit politics.

He also suggested that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican viewed as Mr. Trump’s biggest potential rival for the GOP presidential nomination, would easily win against President Biden in 2024 if that contest materialized.

The new Twitter leader’s commentary came after Mr. Trump called Mr. Musk a “bull—— artist.” The former president also said Mr. Musk told him that he voted for Mr. Trump, which Mr. Musk denied.

Mr. Trump remains barred from using Twitter and Mr. Musk has not outlined a definitive timeline for his return or the restoration of other banned accounts. The company’s process for welcoming back banned users is under review, according to Mr. Musk.

Twitter’s new owner has started to implement changes to the platform, however, including placing new restrictions on users who fail to disclose they were impersonating other people.

Mr. Musk announced a blanket ban on Sunday evening affecting all people posing as others without identifying as a parody.

The new rules irked some users, including comedian Kathy Griffin who tested Mr. Musk‘s approach by switching her screen name to mirror Mr. Musk.

Twitter suspended her account shortly thereafter and Mr. Musk jabbed back in a series of tweets mockingly saying she was really “suspended for impersonating a comedian.”

Mr. Musk defended his preferred censorship model amid the pushback and said Twitter’s rules will evolve.

“My commitment to free speech extends even to not banning the account following my plane, even though that is a direct personal safety risk,” Mr. Musk said.

• Ryan Lovelace can be reached at rlovelace@washingtontimes.com.

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