- Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., said it would be difficult for Twitter to keep former President Donald Trump off the platform if he becomes a major candidate in 2024.
- Khanna said that would be the case regardless of whether Elon Musk owns the company.
- Trump has said he has no plans to return.
Though Elon Musk's deal to purchase Twitter has renewed questions of whether former President Donald Trump would be reinstated on the platform, one Democratic lawmaker said Tuesday the company will likely have to do so if he runs for another term, regardless of its new ownership.
"If he's the Republican nominee or if he's a major candidate, I think regardless of whether it's Elon Musk, I think probably anyone at Twitter would find a hard time saying that that person should be denied access to the platform," Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., told Andrew Ross Sorkin on CNBC's "Squawk Box."
But, Trump said Monday he wouldn't return to Twitter even if Musk reversed the platform's ban on the former president.
"I was disappointed by the way I was treated by Twitter. I won't be going back on Twitter," the former president told CNBC's Joe Kernen. Trump said he will instead be on Truth Social, which has been billed as a free speech alternative to Big Tech platforms and is part of the Trump Media & Technology Group.
Khanna said it was "appropriate" for Twitter to temporarily suspend Trump for incitement of violence following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. But he questioned the idea that Twitter would be able to maintain its permanent ban on Trump's account.
"I just don't think you can keep a Republican leading contender off a platform unless there's, again, repeated bad action," Khanna said.
Khanna added that Twitter will need a plan for how to contend with further infractions by Trump if he is let back on the service.
"The question is, if he does enter the race in '24 and he's allowed back on, then what are the safeguards and guardrails saying if you incite violence again you'll be back off," Khanna said. "But my sense is that decision would be made regardless if it was Elon Musk."
Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.