Elon Musk is apparently hankering for those halcyon days when America had a President who really got him. You know, the kind of pro-business bigwig who isn’t afraid to tell the AFL-CIO to screw off? To be sure, this is not an apt description of our current POTUS, with whom Musk seems to be slightly out of step.
Yes, not long after casually dissing President Biden on Twitter, the Tesla CEO has done it again—this time during an interview at Code Conference in Beverly Hills, Calif., where he alleged that the new administration is “biased” against his company and is (*gasp*) “controlled by unions.”
Musk appears to be sore after not getting invited to a recent White House summit on electric vehicles. Biden’s August 5 meeting included Ford and General Motors, as well as newly formed automaker Stellantis, but notably failed to send an RSVP to Tesla, despite the fact that the company reportedly produces the largest amount of EVs on the planet.
Relevantly, it has largely been interpreted that Musk was snubbed due to his company’s overtly anti-labor stance. Indeed, when the Tesla CEO isn’t fending off union organizing within its ranks, he’s been witnessed trying to make excuses for why the company’s workers get injured so often, or, maybe, breaking labor laws by tweeting. The other three companies that were invited to the August EV summit are the “largest employers of the United Auto Workers,” WH press secretary Jen Psaki said, at the time.
When queried about Biden this week, Musk sounded off about the whole thing: “(They) didn’t mention Tesla once and praised GM and Ford for leading the EV revolution. Does that sound maybe a little biased?,” Musk said, at the California conference. “Not the friendliest administration, seems to be controlled by unions.”
Yes, what a shame it is to have a president that isn’t exclusively worried about the opulent few and, gah, why can’t we just have an administration that hates organized labor and loves Elon Musk?
Actually, that sounds a whole lot like the last administration, a White House that everybody knows was a “pro-business,” anti-union, plutocratic mess that was dead set on selling any part of the government that wasn’t nailed down. When questioned at Code Conference over whether he wanted President Trump back, Musk’s response was “no...,” with no real elaboration.
But, eh, I don’t know. As two billionaires largely accustomed to treating their workers like shit, you would think that former President Trump and Elon would have a decent amount in common. At the very least, the two seemed to hang out a lot over the past four years, starting shortly after Trump’s 2016 win, when Musk went to Washington D.C. to attend a meeting between the then-president-elect and tech’s biggest names, after which he would be appointed to several WH business advisory councils. He would meet with Trump again, and again, and, by 2020, the two billionaires were increasingly seeing eye to eye on things, with Politico noting that both men had “a lot in common.”
Trump also had nothing but nice things to say about Musk, famously praising the Tesla CEO’s work on SpaceX by noting “he does good at rockets,” while also comparing him to Thomas Edison. According to Trump, Elon is: “one of our very smart people,” “one of our great geniuses.” Actually, he said all of this:
“You know, we have to protect Thomas Edison and we have to protect all of these people that came up with originally the light bulb and the wheel and all of these things. And he’s one of our very smart people and we want to cherish those people...”
Ahh, yes. Classic 2020 presidential rhetoric. I almost miss it. But not as much as Elon appears to miss it.
Suffice it to say, Musk and Biden don’t seem to have quite the same spark—potentially because Biden has some minor affinity for organized labor and doesn’t need to spend hours waxing fantastic about how great Musk is. Maybe that’s okay.