Elon Musk has been derided on Twitter after quoting the Latin phrase “Vox Populi, Vox Dei” in response to President Donald Trump’s reinstatement on the social media platform.
Trump was reinstated after Musk launched a Twitter poll asking users if the former president should be allowed to return.
Over 15 million Twitter users voted in the poll with the final result showing 51.8 percent were in favor of Trump being reinstated, while 48.2 percent were opposed.
Six minutes after the poll closed, Musk tweeted to confirm Trump’s return. “The people have spoken. Trump will be reinstated,” he wrote, adding: “Vox Populi, Vox Dei.”
The Latin phrase translates as “the voice of the people.” [is] the voice of God” with the first recorded usage coming from a letter penned by clergyman and poet Alcuin of York to Charlemagne, or Charles the Great, in 798.
However, as several Twitter users were quick to note, there was a sense of irony to Musk’s tweet given the meaning of the full quote.
This was most prominently highlighted by the Twitter user Goldengateblond, who shared a screenshot of Musk’s tweet, while explaining that the full quote is “Nec audiendi qui solent dicere, vox populi, vox dei, quum tumultuositas vulgi semper insaniae proxima sit.”
As Goldengateblond noted, this actually translates to: “Do not listen to those who say the voice of the people is the voice of God, since the tumult of the crowd is always close to madness.”
At the time of writing, the tweet had been retweeted over 39,000 times and quote-tweeted a further 1,700 times. It’s also earned over 200,000 likes, with the irony of Musk quoting the Latin phrase evidently not lost on those following along online.
One user, Wheelyweb, commented: “Only Elon uses a quote to support his decision that is from a statement that says the opposite. Talk about self-own.”
Marmel said: “Subtlety and context isn’t really their thing” with EDoggthered writing: “Leave it to an engineer to show the importance of the humanities.”
Elsewhere, Everproactive commented: “Like everything Elmo does, his Tweets are half-baked,” with Cuchelin reflecting: “I find it interesting what type of people use a quote by carefully removing the parts that show it actually means the opposite of what they want it to say.”
Edu_frias, meanwhile, concluded: “He’d have known that if he had finished school (or had bothered to use Google).”
The tweet comes days after a video showing Musk being called a “Space Karen” surfaced online and after the hashtag #RIPTwitter to begin trending in the wake of reports of a mass exodus of staff from the company.
Newsweek has contacted Goldengateblond for comment.