Elon Musk’s X to Host Election Town Hall With Donald Trump

Published: May 31, 2024

X, the social media service owned by Elon Musk, will host live video town halls with former President Donald J. Trump and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in the run-up to the U.S. presidential election, a major push into politics, according to a person familiar with the plans.

The town halls, which will be produced in a partnership with the cable channel NewsNation, have yet to be scheduled and moderators have not been selected, said the person, who declined to be named because the plans were not yet public. X users will be able to ask questions of the presidential candidates during the events.

In an appearance on NewsNation on Wednesday night, Mr. Kennedy confirmed his plans to participate in a town hall, adding that Mr. Musk offered the use of the platform.

X has undergone a transformation under Mr. Musk’s ownership, as the billionaire has drastically reduced its work force, overhauled its technology and used the platform to advance his personal agendas.

The town halls follow a March meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Musk. The X owner has posted about President Biden more frequently in recent months, criticizing him on a range of fronts, including his age and his policies on immigration. X invited Mr. Biden to hold a town hall on the platform, but his campaign has not responded, the person familiar with the arrangement said.

Mr. Musk has stopped short of endorsing Mr. Trump, who was barred from Twitter after the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021. Mr. Musk quickly reinstated the former president after buying the platform in 2022, which he renamed X. Mr. Musk has courted Mr. Trump, asking him to return to using X.

Mr. Trump’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mr. Trump’s presence on X — if only for the town hall — could bring fresh viewership to the platform, which has struggled under Mr. Musk’s ownership. Advertisers have retreated, concerned about reports of hate speech and misinformation on the platform.

The platform has long been known as a text-first social media service. But under its chief executive, Linda Yaccarino, a former NBC Universal advertising leader, the company has increasingly incorporated video features.

She has made several deals to produce video content with TV personalities including Tucker Carlson, the former Fox News host; Tulsi Gabbard, the former Democratic presidential candidate; and Paris Hilton, the reality star and D.J.

Ms. Yaccarino approached Nexstar, the parent company of NewsNation, about the town hall concept, the person familiar with the arrangement said, and has been ironing out the details as part of her push to make X a video platform. Axios previously reported the town hall.

Source website: www.nytimes.com