Elon Musk gets on another Trump team, admits reaction getting him ‘down’

Elon Musk, who is one of only a few tech executives on Donald Trump’s business advisory team, is also now part of a manufacturing jobs initiative announced Friday by the White House.

The White House released a list of nearly 30 business leaders, some of whom met with Trump on Monday, who it says will help advise a new manufacturing initiative on “how to best promote job growth.” The tech-industry names on the list are Musk, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich and Dell Technologies founder CEO Michael Dell.

Is Musk, the clean energy evangelist, really all in with an administration whose leader has dismissed climate change?

Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX and a member of the PayPal Mafia, is a popular figure in tech and in business. But he is getting some flack for cooperating with Trump, whose other views and policies are controversial.

Here’s a Twitter exchange Friday morning.

That’s on top of what happened earlier this week, when Musk got blowback for his tweeted support of Donald Trump’s nomination of Rex Tillerson for secretary of state. As we wrote, Musk defended himself by saying that Tillerson, a longtime Exxon executive, is competent, has admitted that climate change is real, and has voiced support for a carbon tax — which is something that Musk has championed.

Before the presidential election in November, Musk had said he didn’t think Trump would be right for the job. But in December, he was named to the newly elected president’s business advisory team, representing Silicon Valley along with Uber CEO Travis Kalanick.

Musk getting on board with Trump may be a bit unexpected, but the two have interests that align. Tesla (along with SolarCity) and SpaceX need government incentives and contracts; Trump can hold up Musk’s businesses as examples of U.S. job creation. Palo Alto-based Tesla has 30,000 workers, 25,000 of whom are in the United States.

A Morgan Stanley analyst upgraded Tesla stock last week based on what he sees as Musk’s blossoming relationship with the Trump administration.

“To the extent the new administration prioritizes the creation of valuable, innovative high tech and manufacturing jobs, Tesla stands at the epicenter of that,” the analyst, Adam Jonas, told the New York Times.

As for Intel, a spokesman sent SiliconBeat the following statement: “As the world’s largest semiconductor company and a leading American high-technology manufacturer and exporter, we are pleased to participate in the Initiative and help shape policies to ensure that America leads in the advanced and knowledge-intensive manufacturing industries of the future.”

Tesla has not yet responded to a request for comment.


Photo: Tesla CEO Elon Musk listens as President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with technology industry leaders at Trump Tower in New York on Dec. 14, 2016. (Evan Vucci/AP)


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  • Guffie

    greed destroyed his values. musk has never been a hero. maybe now the nerds will see that.

    • Chris

      What values have been destroyed? How has this changed him? How would rejecting Trump help anyone?

    • aar_nr

      didn’t DESTROY anything. THE best thing, and sadly they fail to see it yet, is that the Left needs to approach Trump like an adult who makes the damn rules. Speak to him in his language (prestige, jobs, and money), and then sell their vision for the nation.

      Green Jobs, Electric Cars, and Rooftop Solar.
      its significantly better than helping Canada ship its tar sands through a pipe to the international oil ports in the Gulf of Mexico, where its then sold across the oceans.

      Green energy, tech, and infrastructure are an American win-win. Jobs, Economy, Energy Independence

    • Jones

      Greed? He’s one of the few exec’s using his fortune to at least try to improve the world, dufus.

  • Anthony C

    Haven’t heard much about a backlash against him, I think most people still see him as a force for change. Hopefully it’s not a tea party of the left starting up that thinks no compromises and not even associating with the other side of an issue are the best way to get what you want.

    • Chris

      Exactly. What do they think rejecting President Trump entirely will do? How will it benefit anyone?

    • aar_nr

      Musk playing his hands like a Master. You accept all opportunities as presented, PARTICULARLY when they include the office of the White House

  • Carbonicus

    Musk is a govt rent-seeker, his entire path to profitability depends on rent seeking (tax incentives and ZEV credits, etc.), and rent-seekers don’t change their stripes just because the political party of the resident of 1600 Penn Ave. changes.

  • JLawsButtHole

    Musk is the rational ointment in the jar of flies.

  • BirdEye_view

    I guess Ellon Musk is probably against CalExit.

    • The Cleaner

      Your an idiot moreally than 2 million illegals voted there dumb mf

      • BirdEye_view

        Wow, what a classy, educated this The-Cleaner is. His/her head must be full of foul words. A true liberal.

        • The Cleaner

          Your a Hillary and Obama combined. You created the Syrian crisis by falsifying that Assad is a criminal when in fact you are. Assad is a moderate that protects minorities and even has generals that are Christian’s. Yet you bomb them. You Bomb Yemen and so many countries in the middle east to distabilize the region. You left awhole mess to clean up your disgusting.

        • BirdEye_view

          That is a huge misunderstanding. I am pro Trump and against those fluffy liberals or the far left bullies. I want CalExit on the ballot and get voted down soundly. To Let those Liberals snow flakes know that there are just as many Californians who are NOT leftist. The leftists are ONLY LOUDER and bully. I am for Trump all the way. Obama is an empty talker. Also sneaky he is.

  • Bulldozer

    Musk’s work has longer term implications than Trump’s 4 year term.

    • Jesse Smelser

      Trump will probably be in for 8 years and then he will likely create the largest family legacy in US Presidential history with his daughter, sons, and son-in-law all becoming President.

      • Remember the TV series ‘Dynasty’? I am already looking forward to it… the TV series about the Trumps. Could be a reality show… Hm, it already is, in a twisted ‘alternative facts’ sort of way.

  • Doreen Gaydoon

    Musk will publicly support every cabinet member and every bit of legislation trump advocates. Musk is way past bankruptcy. All he has to do is cross trump once and he is dead.

  • Alec Sevins

    Maybe Trump will convince Musk (and others) that landscape & bird/bat killing wind turbines are not green. That appears to be one of Trump’s few bright spots on the environment. In general, all he cares about is money and doesn’t grasp nature’s role in our very existence.


    • Jesse Smelser

      Yep, we should replace all the wind turbines with coal plants.