Elon Musk, co-founder and chief executive officer of Tesla Motors.
Yuriko Nakao | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Musk in a tweet accused the Biden administration of doing “everything it can to sideline” and ignore Tesla, despite its dominance in the electric vehicle industry.
Musk, who is making an increasingly fraught attempt to buy Twitter for $44 billion, suggested Thursday that Democrats would target him with a smear campaign after he announced that he would vote for GOP candidates.
“In the past I voted Democrat, because they were (mostly) the kindness party. But they have become the party of division & hate, so I can no longer support them and will vote Republican,” Musk tweeted Thursday.
“Now, watch their dirty tricks campaign against me unfold …,” he wrote, ending the tweet with a “popcorn” emoji.
Hours later Thursday, Business Insider published a bombshell report detailing allegations that Musk exposed his genitals to a private jet flight attendant as he asked her for a full body massage on a SpaceX flight to London. The report said he offered to buy her a horse for her acquiescence to his purported sexual requests.
Musk denied the woman’s claims. Insider reported that they were detailed in a written declaration from a friend of hers, submitted to bolster a complaint the woman made to SpaceX’s human resources department.
But neither Musk nor SpaceX have denied Business Insider’s report that the aerospace firm he founded and runs paid the woman $250,000 in severance in exchange for her silence after she complained about his alleged conduct.
Musk in a tweet wrote, “The attacks against me should be viewed through a political lens – this is their standard (despicable) playbook – but nothing will deter me from fighting for a good future and your right to free speech.”
On Thursday, after Musk tweeted that he expected a “dirty tricks campaign against me” following his announcement that he would vote Republican, Democratic podcaster Jon Favreau fired back at Musk.
“Hey man, if you want to support a bunch of electric vehicle-hating climate deniers, that’s on you,” tweeted Favreau, who was a speechwriter for former President Barack Obama.
“Not sure that it helps the cause that you and your team have dedicated much of your lives to, but I guess you’ll get some attention on Twitter, so there’s that!” Favreau wrote.
Musk replied Friday, writing, “Hi Jon! You’re a good dude, but obv die-hard Dem, so have to support the party, but this Adminstration has done everything it can to sideline & ignore Tesla, even though we have made twice as many EVs as rest of US industry combined.”
Earlier this week at the All-In Summit in Miami, Musk said he would classify himself “as a moderate, neither Republican or Democrat,” who “overwhelmingly” voted for Democrats in the past.
“I might never have voted Republican. Now, this election? I will,” Musk said at the event.
“The Democratic Party is overly controlled by the unions and the trial lawyers, particularly the class-action lawyers,” he said.
White House spokespeople didn’t immediately comment.
Musk’s beef with the Biden administration goes back to August of last year. He was not invited to President Joe Biden‘s signing ceremony for an executive order that called on automakers to sell more electric vehicles — but executives from General Motors, Ford and Chrysler were.
“Yeah, seems odd that Tesla wasn’t invited,” Musk tweeted.
It was reported in February that Biden had no immediate plans to invite Musk to White House meetings with corporate leaders.
Musk told CNBC in emails that same month that Biden was ignoring Tesla in favor of giving attention to legacy automakers.
“The notion of a feud is not quite right. Biden has pointedly ignored Tesla at every turn and falsely stated to the public that GM leads the electric car industry, when in fact Tesla produced over 300,000 electric vehicles last quarter and GM produced 26,” Musk said in the email at the time.
Last month, Musk, GM CEO Mary Barra and other top auto executives met with senior Biden administration officials about electric vehicle charging stations.