While building Truth Social, Trump talked to rivals about competing partnerships

The TRUTH Social website is seen on a mobile device with an image of former US President Donald Trump in the background in this photo illustration in Warsaw, Poland on February 23, 2022.

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Months after Donald Trump began building his social media platform, Truth Social, he considered jumping ship and backing a competitor, according to an insider account.

Trump Media founders and former “Apprentice” contestants Andy Litinsky and Wes Moss first met with Trump over burgers and ice cream on Jan. 26, 2021 — according to a daily log of transactions at the company provided by founder and whistleblower Will Wilkerson — weeks later. Trump was banned from Twitter after the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021. The meeting was referred to internally as the “cheeseburger summit.”

Litinsky and Moss officially partnered with Trump through their company, United Atlantic Ventures, in February 2021 to build the Trump Media and Technology Group, the company behind Truth Social.

However, on June 11, 2021, Litinsky and Moss privately worried about a potential “meltdown” when Trump considered endorsing former aide Jason Miller’s Gettr app, CNBC has learned. As Trump weighed the Gettr offer, he also had a conversation with right-wing social platform Parler, according to the internal log, which offered the former president a 12.5% ​​stake.

Months after initiating the Trump Media and Truth Social project, Trump met with Gettr. He was offered $5 million a year for his participation, and according to Wilkerson’s daily log, the Truth Social co-founders wondered if Trump would make a “side deal.”

The Washington Post first reported Trump’s conversations with Gettr on Monday. Parler did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Apps Paler, Truth Social, Rumble, Gettr, CloutHub and MeWe on an iPhone 12.

Christoph Dernbach | Image Alliance | Getty Images

According to Wilkerson’s account, it was about whether Trump’s public statements would be exclusive to the Truth platform.

Trump signed an agreement with UAV dated February 2, 2021 that dictated his and the Trump Organization’s liability to the Trump Media and Technology Group and Truth Social. The deal also gave Trump 90% of the company’s shares.

Among those responsibilities included providing the intellectual property rights to Trump’s name, logos, brands, images, photos, videos and the like, a key asset in many of Trump’s business dealings. When the company appeared to be listed through the special purpose acquisition company Digital World Acquisition Corp.internal documents seem to show that founders worried about their exclusivity with the Trump name.

According to internal emails, an amendment to the SPAC agreement sought to change Donald Trump’s “exclusive” license to Trump Media’s product to a “non-exclusive” license.

Nelson Mullin’s attorney John Haley, who advised the Trump Media SPAC deal, called the licensing deal a “fundamental building block for [Trump Media Group] initiative and platform,” according to an August 2021 email obtained by CNBC.

Haley said the move to a non-exclusive agreement “essentially ‘takes’ Trump’s commitments to the platform and leaves DWAC with an ‘unbankable’ initiative that will not survive.”

Haley did not immediately return requests for comment from CNBC.

Wilkerson’s daily log shows that in response to the concerns, Moss and Litinsky met with Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Trump Organization lawyers. The pair later held a call with Trump himself discussing Jason Miller.

The log records several delays — including one while Don Jr. hunted pheasants in England – before the final agreement with DWAC was brought to Mar-a-Lago on October 20, 2021.

At Mar-a-Lago, the internal log says, “There was serious doubt that DJT wouldn’t sign, he called Jason Miller about Gettr and grilled Andy about the deal.” Trump eventually signed the deal, which has yet to be completed.

The deal makes Trump’s posts available exclusively on Truth Social for eight hours before he can share them elsewhere, according to The Washington Post. Elon Musk, who recently acquired Twitter, has said he would reinstate Trump’s Twitter account. Trump, while praising the acquisition, has said he will remain at Truth Social.

Representatives from Trump Media and DWAC did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

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