Elon Musk and Donald Trump
Source: Getty

Elon Musk and Trump Become Business Rivals Amid Push for Free Speech

Mohit Oberoi, CFA - Author
By

Apr. 27 2022, Published 8:21 a.m. ET

Twitter’s board caved into Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk and approved his bid to acquire the company at $54.20 per share. When Twitter's board tried to block the bid, several prominent Republicans criticized them. They even asked the board to preserve the records related to Musk's offer to acquire Twitter. Many conservatives think that Musk will restore former President Donald Trump’s Twitter account, which was suspended in January 2021 after the Capitol Hill violence.

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Musk has called himself a “free speech absolutist.” Trump has been a champion of free speech lately and seeks to promote it with Truth Social, a recently launched social media app. Is Musk friends with Trump?

Musk has been critical of Trump in the past.

Musk has been critical of Trump in the past. In 2016, he said that Trump wasn’t fit to lead the country. However, Musk apparently changed his views and joined Trump’s advisory council.

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Musk and Trump share views on some aspects.

Musk and Trump had a similar world view on some aspects. For example, Musk agreed with Trump about China’s unfair trade practices. The country imposed a massive 25 percent tariff on U.S.-made cars but it had a lower tariff on the cars that it exported to the U.S.

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Musk and Trump were also on the same page when it came to the COVID-19 lockdowns. When Musk pressured health authorities to open the Fremont plant despite the rising COVID-19 cases, he received support from Trump.

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Musk and Trump have a differing view on climate change.

However, there are multiple aspects in which Musk and Trump have different worldviews. One example is climate change. Musk is arguably the global mascot of the fight against climate change, while Trump sees climate change as a hoax. Trump relaxed policies governing fossil fuels in the country and saw oil and gas exports as a key pillar to reducing the country’s trade deficit.

Trump even withdrew from the Paris Climate Deal. Musk and Trump fell out after the withdrawal. Musk also criticized Trump’s Muslim ban. However, he soon deleted the tweets.

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Musk claims to have "socialist" political views.

Musk has described himself as a “socialist” and supported Andrew Yang in the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Yang advocated universal basic income, among other socialist policies.

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Musk isn't friends with President Joe Biden.

Musk isn't too friendly with President Biden, who snubbed him and invited legacy automakers like General Motors and Ford to the White House to discuss ways to increase electric car production in the country.

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Musk isn't friends with Trump either.

Musk isn't friends with Trump either. While many conservatives want him to restore Trump’s Twitter account, Trump said that he won't be going back to Twitter. If anything, Trump and Musk are business rivals now. Digital World Acquisition (DWAC) stock has tumbled since Musk announced the acquisition of Twitter.

The SPAC is set to take Trump’s TMTG (Trump Media & Technology Group) public. With a promise of promoting free speech on Twitter, Musk has dampened the prospects of Trump’s social media company. Trump’s paper net worth has also tumbled amid the crash in DWAC stock.

To sum it up, Trump and Musk aren't friends. The two share a relationship of convenience and have supported each other on matters of mutual benefit. With Musk owning Twitter, his relationship with Trump will become even more nuanced.

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