'Trump TV' Prospects Dented by Twitter Ban, Capitol Backlash

Any attempt by President Donald Trump to set up a media empire following his White House would be hampered by a lack of routes for promotion and backlash over the Capitol riots, experts have told Newsweek.

Trump has been locked out of major social media platforms in recent days, following last week's violence in Washington, D.C. and his supporters' storming of the Capitol, reducing his messaging capability and avenues for self-promotion.

The prospect of the commander-in-chief moving into running a TV venture had been touted, with his public admonishment of Fox News prompting speculation he could set up a rival.

Throughout his tenure, Twitter had been Trump's medium of choice for communicating to his base—whether directly or by leveraging coverage with his statements.

In any future endeavor post-White House, his social media platforms might have been utilized in a similar way.

"Trump was hoping to remain a central energizing force behind his supporters and then convince them to pay to watch his Trump-branded media empire," Dr. David Andersen, assistant professor in U.S. politics at the U.K.'s Durham University, told Newsweek.

"But that energy, by his own doing, has now removed him from his primary way of connecting with his supporters—social media."

Andersen suggested Trump has "potentially severely damaged his own hopes for a media empire."

"By several accounts he was interested in developing his own media company post-presidency, which would have given him a strong political voice for years to come," Andersen told Newsweek.

"His recent attempts to leverage his supporters away from Fox would have strengthened the appeal of a Trump-based television network or online channel. Trump TV would have been a natural alternative. All he had to do was stay in the public eye until he could turn his empire on.

"But Trump has largely based himself off of two key communication strategies: tweets and large in-person rallies. Now that he has lost Twitter and will be out of office, he lacks anywhere to promote his brand. He might try to continue rallies around the country by selling tickets, but I am not sure that they will hold as much appeal to attend when he is no longer president."

James Curran, professor of communications at Goldsmiths, University of London, as well as the author of Media and Power and Media and Democracy, told Newsweek Trump will need to look to increase his media base due to his social media plight and Fox News divide.

"He's stuck," Curran said. "He once said that 'Twitter is like owning a newspaper... without the losses.' Shut out of leading social media, with a ruptured relationship with Fox, he has to boost his media base."

Curran agreed that Trump finds himself in a catch-22—needing to beef up his media presence due to having lost social media, but then having limited means to promote such a project because of those bans.

On the sort of pursuit that might work, Curran said: "The logical thing for him to do is establish a multimedia website, and generate a political campaign against tech giant censorship in league with the 'swamp.'"

Jane Hall, professor in the School of Communication at American University, told Newsweek the backlash from January 6 is a likely hurdle to any potential media pursuit by Trump.

"I think it would be very difficult for Donald Trump to launch his own media empire on television," Hall said, referring to corporations' reactions and the move to impeach him.

Newsweek has contacted the Trump campaign and the Trump Organization for comment on the prospect of a Trump-led media venture.

trump speaks ahead of boarding air forceone
President Donald Trump speaks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House before boarding Marine One on January 12, 2021 in Washington, D.C. There has been speculation over his plans following his White House tenure, with a media venture touted as a potential prospect. Drew Angerer/Getty Images