Former President Donald J. Trump returned to Xthe social media platform formerly known as Twitter on Thursday night after a hiatus of more than two years.

Mr Trump’s first new post on The caption below the mugshot read.

A day after airing an interview with Tucker Carlson, the former Fox News host who now streams his talk shows on the service, Mr Trump returned to X. The interview aired while other Republican presidential candidates participated in their first debate Wednesday night.

When Twitter excluded Mr Trump, the company claimed that his posts on the platform glorified violence and encouraged his followers to storm the Capitol. But Elon Musk, a self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist” who bought the social network for $44 billion in October and recently rebranded it, said it was a mistake to exclude Mr Trump. In November, he restored Mr Trump’s account, although it has been dormant since.

For years, Mr Trump relied on Twitter as a mouthpiece, using the platform to attack opponents, rally supporters and issue policy directives. After the ban, he helped establish his own social network, Truth Social.

Mr. Trump has financial interests in Truth Social and is obligated to make his posts available exclusively on the service for six hours before sharing them on other sites, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. He can instantly post to any website if the news is a political message, fundraiser, or voter initiative. Mr Trump has a large Twitter following – 86.5 million people, compared to just 6.5 million who follow his Truth Social account.

After Mr Musk bought the company, Mr Trump said he would not return to Twitter, adding that he prefers Truth Social. He also poked fun at Mr Musk last year when the Tesla boss threatened to back out of the Twitter acquisition, he said in a statement Truth Social post that Mr Musk overpaid for the platform and begged him for help with “his many subsidized projects, be they electric cars that don’t go long enough, self-driving cars that crash, or rocket ships going nowhere.”

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