Trump adviser Steve Bannon (L) looks on as President Donald Trump greets Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, before a policy and strategy forum with executives in the State Dining Room of the White House on February 3, 2017 in Washington , DC.
Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images
Elon Musk has said twice this week that he plans to vote for Republicans in the next election, even though he says he has already voted for Democrats such as former President Barack Obama.
Musk’s stated political leanings will come as no surprise to people who follow the famed CEO’s interactions and proclamations on Twitter and elsewhere.
Behind the scenes, Musk and his biggest companies, SpaceX and Tesla, have worked for years to influence the American political landscape through lobbying and political donations. Together, SpaceX and Tesla spent more than $2 million on lobbying in 2021. They tend to spend on both sides of the aisle.
But Musk has always been anti-union, opposed to the billionaire tax and is a vocal critic of President Joe Biden.
Meanwhile, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, said in a September interview with CNBC that Musk approved of his red state social policies, which included tough restrictions on abortion, bans on books that called for the removal of LGBTQ memoirs from the school curriculum or libraries and investigations of abuse in families seeking gender-affirming care for transgender children.
On Wednesday, Musk wrote on Twitter:
“In the past, I voted Democrat, because they were (mostly) the party of kindness. But they became the party of division and hate, so I can’t support them anymore and I will vote Republican . Now watch their dirty tricks campaign against me unfold…” adding a movie popcorn emoji for emphasis.
The tweet followed earlier statements at the All In Summit in Miami on Monday, where Elon Musk accused Twitter of having a strong leftist bias, saying during a podcast recording: “I would class myself as a moderate, Neither Republican nor Democrat. In fact, I’ve voted overwhelmingly for Democrats historically. Overwhelmingly. I might never have voted Republican. Now, this election?
Musk called his pending $44 billion acquisition of Twitter a “soft takeover” of the platform, not a right-wing takeover. But then he attacked the Democratic Party.
Boosted by podcast and event host Jason Calacanis, who is raising money to help Musk acquire Twitter, the Tesla CEO said, “The Democratic Party is too controlled by unions and trial attorneys, especially class action lawyers.
On the social platform, Musk frequently insulted and trashed elected Democrats, including Biden, Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ron Wyden, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
On the other hand, he tends to engage in a friendly and non-confrontational way with right-wing elected officials like Rep. GOP Lauren Boebert and far-right figures, including Steven Crowder, Dinesh D’Souza and others.
Crowder, a podcast host who presents himself as a comedian, was previously suspended from YouTube for violating the platform’s hate speech policy after making comments against trans people. He was also denounced by the Association of Asian American Journalists after making remarks about a broadcast journalist at the KPIX in San Francisco that they deemed racist and sexist.
D’Souza, a conservative commentator, has produced videos and books containing hyperbolic criticisms of Democratic leaders for years. He pleaded guilty in 2014 to violating campaign finance laws and was later pardoned by President Donald Trump. D’Souza was not invited to CPAC’s annual conservative conference in 2018 after ridiculing survivors of a school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
Musk also said he would reinstate Trump on Twitter.
Twitter permanently suspended the former president from the platform in January 2021 following an attack by its supporters on the US Capitol. The company said it made the decision following the Jan. 6 riot “due to the risk of further incitement to violence.”