Elon Musk Supports Donald Trump When It Suits Him, Isn't a 'Trumpster'

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Apr. 15 2022, Published 9:26 a.m. ET

Amid the drama over Elon Musk making an offer to acquire Twitter, many people on social media are questioning the real intentions behind buying the microblogging site. Many have been even floating theories that Musk would restore former President Donald Trump’s Twitter account if he gained control of the company.

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Some social media users have been labeling Musk a “Trumpster,” which is a somewhat derogatory term used to describe hardcore Trump supporters. What are Musk’s political views and is he a Trump supporter?

Musk’s relationship with Trump has been nuanced.

Musk’s relationship with Trump has been quite nuanced. Musk made remarks dismissive of Trump on the eve of the 2016 U.S. presidential election and said that he didn't believe that Trump was fit to lead the country. Soon after, Musk joined Trump’s business advisory council, only to leave it after Trump pulled the U.S. from the Paris Climate Deal.

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As a champion of green energy, Musk’s position in Trump’s council was untenable from the beginning considering Trump’s worldview on climate change. The former President believed that climate change is a hoax and even mocked teen climate change activist Greta Thunberg.

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However, Musk supported Trump when the latter lashed out at China for unfair trade practices. China levied a 25 percent tariff on U.S. car imports, which was 10 times what the U.S. levied on Chinese car imports.

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Since then, Musk has warmed up to China and got quick approvals for its Shanghai Gigafactory. China also made Tesla cars eligible for the subsidy, which was reserved for domestic car companies.

Musk's stance on Trump isn't clear.

Musk is a smart business leader and he has sided with Trump when it suited him. Musk and Trump were on the same page when the former pushed local health workers to reopen the Fremont plant despite rising COVID-19 cases in the U.S. during the first wave.

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Musk even warmed up to communist China, which helped Tesla grow its business in the country. Tesla is the only global automaker to set up solo operations in China. All of the other automakers looking to set up business in the world’s biggest car market have had to form a joint venture with a Chinese company.

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Musk isn't a “Trumpster.” As for his political views, while he has tried to portray a neutral position, he supported Andrew Yang in the 2020 presidential election. Musk even described himself as a “socialist,” even though his actions haven't been socialist in the true sense.

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Musk isn't an ardent Trump supporter.

Musk isn't an ardent Trump supporter and his support for the former president has been based on the interest of his companies. At the same time, Musk also has a grudge against President Biden who has snubbed him so far. While the Biden administration invited automakers like Ford and General Motors to discuss plans to increase U.S. EV (electric vehicle) production, Tesla was conspicuous by its absence.

Tesla is the largest EV company not only in the U.S. but the entire world. The company delivered almost 1 million cars in 2021 and is expected to exit 2022 with an annual run rate of 2 million vehicles. To put that in perspective, Ford plans to sell 2 million cars annually by 2026 and some analysts doubt that even that's feasible.

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Overall, Musk is a smart business leader and has stayed away from supporting one party over the other overtly. Given the polarized environment, it's best for businesses to portray an apolitical picture of themselves.

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Will Musk restore Trump’s Twitter account?

Twitter suspended Trump’s Twitter account after the Capitol Hill violence. Musk has been positioning himself as a champion of free speech, which has fuelled rumors that he could restore Trump’s Twitter account. While it might make business sense for Twitter, Trump himself isn't too keen on re-joining Twitter.

Trump has been focusing on his own social media platform Truth Social whose parent company TMTG (Trump Media & Technology Group) is set to merge with Digital World Acquisition Corp. (DWAC). Trump’s Truth Social is a competitor to Twitter and it isn't likely that Trump will join Twitter again unless it's to promote his own social media platform.

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