Trump Sought Ownership Deal With Parler While Still President
Reprinted with permission from Alternet
While in office, former Donald Trump repeatedly profited off of both the presidency and his businesses. So it isn't really surprising that Trump tried to profit off of the far-right Twitter-copycat Parler too. Spoiler alert: It didn't work.
"The Trump Organization negotiated on behalf of then-president Donald Trump to make Parler his primary social network, but it had a condition: an ownership stake in return for joining," a recent Buzzfeed News report reveals. The talks reportedly began last summer and resumed after Trump lost the 2020 election.
Parler offered the Trump Organization a 40% stake in the company for Trump to join, with the idea that it would eventually challenge both Twitter and Facebook if Trump promised to post his content there four hours before posting it anywhere else. At a June 2020 meeting at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Floria, Parler's now-former CEO John Matze and shareholders Dan Bongino and Jeffrey Wernick met with Trump's former campaign manager, accused grifter and spouse abuser Brad Parscale, as well as Trump campaign lawyer Alex Cannon.
Here's the deal's details:
"Upon completion of that deal, half of that stake would have been given immediately to the Trump Organization, while the other half would have been doled out in tranches over the 24-month period of the agreement.... Parler also asked that Trump link back to Parler when posting to other social media sites or emailing his supporters, and to allow the company to use his email lists to promote its platform. In addition, Parler wanted Trump to make introductions to any potential investors or advertisers."
Surprisingly, "the White House counsel's office soon put a stop to the talks, one person with knowledge of the discussions said, ruling that such a deal while Trump was president would violate ethics rules," Buzzfeed reports.
Then, talks completely disintegrated after the attempted coup at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. After the attempted coup, Amazon, Apple, and Google all booted Parler from their services because the social network had become a hotbed for right-wingers threatening violence and insurrection.
Parler has remained offline ever since. This week, Matze was booted as its CEO by the company's board and was also stripped of his severance and equity in the company. Matze claims he was booted because he wanted the so-called "free speech" network to introduce content moderation and ban accounts associated with far-right extremists, although the company has said his claim is inaccurate.
In addition to hosting far-right conspiracy theorists and bigots, Parler has also had trouble with child pornography being posted on its network, though the company refutes this as well.
The Trump family and Trump Organization, run by his sons, have both repeatedly made international business deals that benefitted from Trump's standing as president, according to Vox, CBS News, Politico, The Los Angeles Times and other publications.