While building Truth Social, Trump spoke with 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 endorsing 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 January 26, 2021 — according to a daily log of dealings within 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 internally referred to as “the Cheeseburger Summit”.

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

On June 11, 2021, however, Litinsky and Moss privately worried about a potential “meetdown” when Trump considered endorsing his former aide Jason Miller’s Gettr app, CNBC has learned. When Trump was weighing the Gettr offer, he also had a call with the right-wing social platform Parler, according to the internal log, which offered the ex-president a 12.5% ​​stake.

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Months after the initiation of 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.

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

Christoph Dernbach Image Alliance | Getty Images

According to Wilkerson’s account, the question was whether Trump’s public statements were exclusive to the Truth platform.

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

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Among these responsibilities include the delivery of the intellectual property rights to the Trump name, logos, brand images, photos, videos and likenesses, a key asset in many of Trump’s business dealings. As the company looked to go public through the special purpose acquisition company The history of Digital World Acquisition Corp.internal documents appear to indicate that founders were concerned 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 Mullins attorney John Haley, who advised on the Trump Media SPAC deal, called the licensing agreement 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 ‘guts'” Trump’s commitments to the platform and leaves DWAC with an “unbankable” initiative that won’t survive.

Haley did not immediately return requests for comment from CNBC.

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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 couple later had a call with Trump himself, who Jason Miller discussed.

The logbook 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 agreement, which is still pending.

The agreement 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, said he would reinstate Trump’s Twitter account. Trump, while praising the acquisition, said he would stay on Truth Social.

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

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