Recent reports have indicated that there might be a reason why Tesla CEO Elon Musk is not being invited to electric vehicle-focused White House events. As it turns out, Biden’s advisors are quite hesitant to invite the Tesla CEO since they are concerned that Musk might do or say something that might embarrass the US President and his administration.
The insights were recently shared by CNBC, which was able to get comments from both Elon Musk and people reportedly familiar with the Biden administration’s stance on the CEO. Citing over half a dozen people who are familiar with the matter — all of which opted remain anonymous — the publication noted that Biden’s advisors are privately pushing back against inviting Musk to future industry events.
When asked about the administration’s concerns, Musk reportedly sent CNBC an initial reply featuring two “rolling on the floor laughing” emojis. Following this classic Musk response, the Tesla CEO noted that the Biden administration’s concerns are largely unfounded. “They have nothing to worry about. I would do the right thing,” Musk wrote.
While Musk maintained that the idea of a feud between him and Biden is not really that accurate, the US President’s hesitation in mentioning Tesla when discussing America’s EVs — at least until recently — was very notable. This became quite evident when General Motors, a company that Biden deemed as a leader in EVs, delivered a measly 26 electric cars in the fourth quarter of 2021. Tesla delivered over 300,000.
“The notion of a feud is not quite right. Biden has pointedly ignored Tesla at every turn and falsely stated to the public that GM leads the electric car industry, when in fact Tesla produced over 300,000 electric vehicles last quarter and GM produced 26… It got to the point, hilariously, where no one in the administration was even allowed to say the word ‘Tesla’! The public outrage and media pressure about that statement forced him to admit that Tesla does, in fact, lead the EV industry. I wouldn’t exactly call that ‘praise,’” Musk wrote in an email to the publication.
Overall, the White House’s hesitation in inviting Elon Musk to White House events seems to stem from a place of misinformation. Musk, after all, is assertive and bold on Twitter, but he has attended numerous high-profile events in the past without making a fool of himself. In a way, this is the problem when a constant stream of negativity is directed towards a person. Eventually, a picture is painted that depicts the individual as a cartoon villain that is out of control. This is a narrative that, to a point, has been directed at Musk over the years. Coupled with Tesla’s tendency to mostly stay silent when criticized, such a narrative has allowed a vastly misinformed take on Musk to become the norm.
Interestingly enough, Musk actually has supported the president in the past. Prior to Biden taking office as the new US President, Musk noted that he was optimistic about the upcoming administration’s focus on climate change. Musk also lobbied for a carbon tax, though he later noted that he was informed by Biden and his team that a carbon tax was “too politically difficult” to implement. It took some time before Musk admitted that the Biden administration was “not the friendliest administration,” and it took even more time before the CEO’s sharp comments on Twitter against the President started. This, unfortunately, is something that has been lost in the Musk vs. Biden mainstream narrative.
Ultimately, however, the Biden administration is changing. The US President actually mentioned Tesla recently, showing that he at least publicly acknowledges the company’s efforts. A White House spokesperson also praised the EV maker in an email to CNBC, noting that “Tesla has done extraordinary things for electric vehicles, and that’s a big part of why the whole industry now knows EVs are the future.” Comments such as these seemed almost impossible to secure just a few months ago.
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