Donald Trump has joined Twitch, the game-focused live-streaming service, apparently in an effort to widen his unfiltered 2020 reelection messaging as the embattled U.S. president faces a fast-moving impeachment inquiry.
Trump’s first Twitch broadcast was from his campaign rally Thursday in Minneapolis, where among other targets he lashed out at Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Somali refugees, Bruce Springsteen, Beyonce and Jay-Z.
A message on the Twitch replay of Trump’s rally says: “Audio for portions of this video has been muted as it appears to contain copyrighted content owned or controlled by a third party.” That appears to be a reference to the fact that the Trump campaign used Prince’s “Purple Rain” during the event — drawing a swift complaint from the late artist’s estate.
Twitch is owned by Amazon, which bought the site in 2014, and Amazon chief Jeff Bezos and his e-commerce empire have been frequent targets of Trump’s rantings. The enmity Trump harbors for Bezos and Amazon stems from the internet mogul’s ownership of the Washington Post.
Trump’s joining Twitch actually is in line with the streaming site’s positioning as a general-purpose interactive social-video network. The company has long wanted to expand beyond its roots as a place for gamers to live-stream and comment on their gaming exploits. For example, Twitch again this year is live-streaming for free the NFL’s “Thursday Night Football” games under the league’s pact with Amazon.
As of Friday morning, Trump had more than 47,000 followers on the Twitch channel (twitch.tv/donaldtrump). Other politicos on Twitch include Sen. Bernie Sanders (with 88,910 followers), who’s campaigning for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. According to Twitch, the site averages over 15 million daily visitors with an average of about 1.3 million concurrent viewers.
Trump’s favorite internet platform, of course, has long been Twitter, and he or his campaign maintain presences on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.
Last month, Twitch launched a redesigned logo and site, along with its first brand-marketing campaign — aimed at broadening its audience beyond gamers.