Television company

Trump sets up social media company in Sarasota near Rumble

Rumble is a video platform company, and its controversial move to Sarasota County recently caused just that: a rumble.

Now, for something far more seismic, this should really shake the dishes in the cupboards of conservatives and critics alike: Donald Trump’s media company is just 11 miles from Rumble.

Details of how Trump’s company ended up on North Cattlemen Road in an industrial part of Sarasota are unknown, but indeed it is here, according to state business records, and quite Suddenly, we became a ring girl in the fight between Trump, Big Tech, Twitter and Elon Musk.

On April 18, state records show Trump Media & Technology Group Corp. registered as a business in Florida and used an office building on North Cattlemen Road in Sarasota as its address.

The company’s eight officers – including Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Jr. and former California congressman Devin Nunes – also list the Sarasota address, although there is no indication that any of the officers have of local connection, well, aside from the fact Trump was ridiculously honored as “Statesman of the Year” by Joe Gruters and the Sarasota County GOP, ahem, twice.

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Donald Trump, right, with former Sarasota County GOP Chairman Joe Gruters, left.  Trump spoke to some 1,400 people in Van Wezel as part of his "Statesman of the Year" Sarasota Republican Party Award on May 21, 2015.

So why is it so important? Because Trump Media & Technology Group owns a social media app called Truth Social, which is Trump’s antagonistic answer to Twitter.

Trump formed Truth Social a year after he was permanently banned from Twitter in the days following January 6, 2021 “due to the risk of further incitement to violence.”

Truth Social has basically been a fiasco since its launch as technical issues prevented many people from downloading it from Apple. At one point, there were over a million people on a waitlist, and it got so bad that an analyst in March reported that downloads were down 90%.

Then came the big announcement, just four days after Trump registered his company in Florida and he became Sarasota’s most famous businessman since John Ringling, or Art Nadel, depending on who you talk to.

On April 22, a press release stated that Rumble had “successfully migrated Truth Social’s website and mobile applications to Rumble’s cloud infrastructure”, and that “Truth Social’s decision marks the first major customer to join Rumble”.

Nunes, the company’s CEO, could barely contain himself as he broke the news during a Friday TV interview on Real America’s Voice, calling Truth Social “one of the fastest growing social media companies in the world.” ‘ story. We’re huge and we’re riding the Rumble tracks.”

In this Oct. 19, 2018 file photo, former President Donald Trump speaks at a ceremony as former Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif.  look son.  Trump was presenting one of the nation's highest civilian honors to Nunes.

Now, let’s be clear: it was Trump’s choice to move this operation to Sarasota. Trump endorsed it. It’s in Sarasota for a reason, and it can’t be a coincidence that Canada-based Rumble recently made Longboat Key its US headquarters.

Only 11 miles separate the two addresses. Maybe they share a server. Let’s hope no one in Sarasota runs into a telephone pole and throws the whole operation out of whack.

Either way, Truth Social’s total migration to Rumble is major news for Trump and the MAGA movement as it gives him a Twitter-like platform that is now more accessible to his followers.

The ex-president had nearly 90 million followers on Twitter. All he had to do was press “tweet” and the seas rose and stocks fell. That’s no longer an option as the company recently said they won’t be reinstating him.

If Trump plans to run in 2024, as most believe, he needs a similar platform. Now he has one. Not only that, but he would now have a weapon with which to fight Musk, the world’s richest man who is trying to buy Twitter.

Elon Musk wants to buy Twitter.

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It’s also worth noting that the two companies are expected to be involved in mergers that could earn them billions.

Rumble apparently approached Enterprise Florida — a state economic development entity chaired by Governor Ron DeSantis — last year about placing its US headquarters in the state. Enterprise Florida then contacted the much maligned Sarasota County Economic Development Corp. to move to Longboat Key.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is the chairman of Enterprise Florida, the state economic entity that helped bring Rumble to Sarasota County.

At a meeting Oct. 26, Sarasota County commissioners voted to award Rumble an incentive deal worth $825,000 in taxpayer dollars, based on the number of employees he brought into the count.

The commissioners approved this although they do not know the actual name of the company.

Rumble’s presence in Sarasota County later sparked citizen outcry when it was revealed that the platform was one of the few in the world to allow Russian state television during the invasion of the Ukraine.

Chris Pavlovski, CEO of Rumble

Rumble, which ultimately did not receive incentive money after the county dissolved its grant program, is expected to merge with a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, called CF Acquisition Corp. The deal could provide $400 million in cash to the company and make it worth $2 billion.

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On October 20, around the same time Rumble planned to move to Longboat Key, Trump announced that his media company was to go public after merging with a SPAC called Digital World Acquisition Group, which could earn the company a worth $1.7 billion. .

The New York Times, however, reported that the transaction process may have violated securities laws, as Trump allegedly spoke with a Florida financier months before the shell company went public.

Either way, Trump’s corporate structure has changed dramatically since registering in Florida.

Nunes, who served 19 years in Congress before leaving to lead Trump’s new venture, is listed in the filing as the company’s CEO.

Trump is listed as director, along with Donald Trump, Jr., Kashyap Patel and Wes Moss.

Donald Trump Jr., speaking at the Sarasota County Fairgrounds on July 3, 2021.

Moss is a former contestant on Trump’s TV show “The Apprentice,” which reportedly pitched the idea of ​​Truth Social to the former president.

Patel previously worked as an aide to Nunes on the House Intelligence Committee and spoke out to delegitimize the FBI and Justice Department during the Russian investigation.

His name has reportedly surfaced several times in depositions regarding Trump’s alleged plan to suspend military support for Ukraine, which led to his impeachment. He was considered by some to be Trump’s right-hand man in his dealings with Ukraine.

Patel recently appeared before the select committee investigating January 6. A letter from the committee to Patel said, in part, “there is substantial reason to believe that you have material and information useful in understanding the role played by the Department of Defense and the White House in the preparation and the response to the attack on the United States Capitol.”

The obscure Phillip Juhan is the CFO, while Andrew Northwall is the COO. Scott Glabe, Trump’s former special assistant in the White House before joining the Department of Homeland Security, is general counsel.

What makes this even more interesting is the fact that Trump’s company also registered as a business in Georgia a month before it did in Florida, but only Nunes and Juhan were listed as as leaders in this particular file. Trump was not. Neither do the others. They were added to Florida’s docket last week.

Wow, who would have ever thought that was possible? General Michael Flynn, Patrick Byrne, Sidney Powell, Charlie Kirk, Cyber ​​Ninjas, and Steve Bannon, to name a few, all linked to Sarasota County.

Big names, certainly, nothing like it.

Chris Anderson

I mean, Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States, right here in Sarasota County on North Cattlemen Road!

Indeed, our very own “Statesman of the Year” has finally come home.

Contact Herald-Tribune columnist Chris Anderson at [email protected] Please support local journalism by purchasing a subscription.