The Trump Organization tried to secure an ownership stake in Parler while President Trump was still in office, BuzzFeed reports. Citing documents and four sources familiar with the matter, the outlet found that while the deal ultimately fell through, negotiations between the Trump Organization and the now-defunct far-right chat haven took place last summer, and again after Trump lost the Nov. 3 presidential election. One source cited by Buzzfeed said the idea of an ownership stake in the platform first came from former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale, who suggested the idea at the White House last year as a way to counter Twitter and Facebook.
Former Parler CEO John Matze is said to have met with Parscale and campaign lawyer Alex Cannon at Mar-a-Lago last summer, but the White House counsel’s office at that time pulled the plug on the negotiations, according to the report. Parler had reportedly offered a 40 percent stake in the right-wing social network on the condition of Trump making it his primary platform. Parscale told BuzzFeed that Trump himself “was never part of the discussions,” which he described as “never that substantive.” Parler has since been booted offline for failing to weed out violent, incendiary rhetoric both before and after the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riots.