Elon Musk is having a fine time throwing around his celebrity status in political circles these days.
The CEO of Tesla (TSLA) – Get Tesla Inc. Report announced plans to buy Twitter (TWTR) – Get Twitter Inc. Report for $44 billion in April. Ever since then, Musk’s tweets have taken on a more political tone, or at least drawn more scrutiny, as he expresses support for Republicans and conservatives, and steps up complaints about Democrats and liberals.
It wasn’t always that way.
Musk is an avowed believer in climate change who, among other things, built up a solar panel company and who markets his electric vehicles as a way to reduce dependency on fossil fuels.
So it’s perhaps not surprising that he donated to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Back in 2015, Musk said in an interview “hopefully Trump doesn’t get the nomination of the Republican party, because I think that’s…that wouldn’t be good.”
After Trump was elected, Musk served on a presidential advisory council of business leaders, for several months. He resigned when Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris Climate accords. (Musk does make electric cars, after all.)
Musk Moves Tesla to Texas
Now Musk has been showing a much stronger affinity for Republicans and conservatives. He famously tweeted earlier this spring a graphic in which he claimed that his views haven’t changed, but that Democrats have moved farther left.
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He’s also moved the headquarters of Tesla to Texas, from California. Tesla completed construction of its huge manufacturing plant near Austin, Texas earlier this year after just 18 months. Musk said later that in California, dominated by Democrats, the company would still just be trying to get permits approved for the project.
Musk recently tweeted that he had voted Republican for the first time, in a Texas primary election and that he planned to keep doing so.
For now, the big question remains, who will Musk support for president in 2024.
Musk Wants a Younger President
Last month, Musk signaled he would prefer not to see Trump run, tweeting that “I think a less divisive candidate would be better in 2024.” Musk also signaled a preference for someone younger than Trump or President Biden.
Then, last week, Musk answered a tweeted question about who he supported with the single word “DeSantis,” apparently a reference to the governor of Florida, who has staked out Trump-like positions to position himself for a presidential run in 2024.
DeSantis quickly jumped on the comments, tastefully joking that he welcomed the any and all African-Americans. (Musk, who is white, was born in South Africa when it was still racially segregated under apartheid.)
But DeSantis may have moved too soon.
On June 21, in an interview in Qatar, Musk was asked if he would support Trump in 2024. Musk cagily replied that “I’m undecided at this point on that election.”