Lately, Donald Trump has been screaming into the void. He is taking to his own social media site, Truth Social, to complain about the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago, but not many people (bar a few reporters) seem to be listening. That’s a far cry from his days as a Twitter influencer before he was finally booted from the platform.
The site’s traffic has tumbled to about 300,000 views per day, down from 1.5 million on the day of its launch, the Washington Post reported Saturday. And that is one of a slew of problems for the would-be Twitter competitor. The Patent and Trademark Office this month refused Trump’s application for a trademark for the site’s name. The site has been panned for forcing people who want to sign up to languish on a waitlist.
The SEC and federal prosecutors are investigating the origins of a deal through which a so-called special purpose acquisition company (or SPAC), called Digital World Acquisition Corp., was set up to eventually take over Trump’s company. The feds appear to be looking into whether the deal was negotiated before the SPAC went public, which would be illegal.
New subpoenas served on the firm in June suggest the probe could be expanding. News of the federal scrutiny has contributed to the company’s stock price falling 75 percent since its peak, with reported losses to the tune of $6.5 million.
The Trump company has also stopped paying a key vendor. Fox Business reported this week that Truth Social owes a web-hosting company called RightForge $1 million and has failed to make contractually required payments since March.
Digital World Acquisition’s SEC filings have also sounded a series of warnings about the company’s chances for success. In May, it said Trump’s company “may never generate any operating revenues or ever achieve profitable operations.” The filings have repeatedly warned that the venture is endangered by its reliance on the former president. “If President Trump were to discontinue his relationship with TMTG due to death, disability, or any other reason, or limit his involvement with TMTG due to becoming a candidate for political office, TMTG would be significantly disadvantaged,” they said in May. And as Mother Jones has reported, Truth Social does not even get exclusive access to his content. Trump is not required to use the site to post any content related to politics, which, of course, is most of what he says.
Digital World Acquisition has also repeatedly warned in filings that: “If President Trump becomes less popular or there are further controversies that damage his credibility or the desire of people to use a platform associated with him, and from which he will derive financial benefit, TMTG’s results of operations could be adversely affected.”
It’s fair to say further controversy has occurred. More trouble looms. A business relying on Donald Trump’s credibility is not, let’s say, ideally positioned.
Author: Daniel Friedman