I hadn’t noticed that Joey Demento never mentions Tesla when talking about electric vehicles (EV). But Elon Musk noticed.
If Musk were putting a bit of lagniappe in the Biden family coffers, you can bet Biden would come out of his stupor long enough to mention the crown jewel of EVs.
What a success story for Elon Musk. He’s no Tucker, a man who allowed the big automakers to run him out of business despite the Tucker being a better auto. No, Elon Musk did more than carve his name of a wood panel. He revolutionized the business.
Musk is the modern day Henry Ford. For those of you who forgot their high school history course, Ford invented the moving assembly line in 1913, more than a hundred years ago. It took the average build time of a car from more than 12 hours to 1 hour and 33 minutes.
Still Biden won’t mention the world’s most valuable automaker and the global brand most clearly associated with EVs.
Here’s what Biden said in a tweeted video recently with the management team of Ford and GM:
“I meant it when I said the future was going to be made right here in America. Companies like GM and Ford are building more electric vehicles here at home than ever before.”
The tweet didn’t go unobserved by avid Twitter user and Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
“Starts with a T. Ends with an A. ESL in the middle,” he replied.
Of course, that’s a lot of spelling for Biden to keep up with.
Bloomberg weighs in:
At every opportunity, Biden hails progress Ford and GM have made toward fielding an electric fleet. But his ongoing and obvious snubs of Tesla — a source of mild intrigue within the administration — have sparked increasingly exasperated public reactions from Musk, the world’s wealthiest person and the CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX, which has government contracts with NASA and the U.S. military.
Musk tweeted after the White House event Thursday with Barra and Ford CEO Jim Farley, to which Tesla was not invited, that “Biden is treating the American public like fools.”
He added that the president is “a damp sock puppet in human form.”
Over the weekend, he egged on fans who started an online petition asking the president to “acknowledge Tesla’s leadership in regards to electric vehicles.”
In 2021, Tesla delivered over 936,000 cars globally. GM sold nearly 480,000 EVs last year, mostly in China. In the U.S., the company had to recall its electric Chevrolet Bolt because of risk of battery fires and sold just 26 EVs in the fourth quarter — 25 Bolts and one electric GMC Hummer pickup truck.
There’s no real mystery behind Biden’s antipathy toward Tesla, according to a person familiar with the president’s thinking. The president has long enjoyed the support of unions in his political campaigns, including the United Auto Workers, and while Tesla employees enjoy generous pay and benefits including equity in the carmaker, Musk is hostile toward unions and company workers aren’t organized.
“Fighting for their right to steal money from workers!” Musk tweeted Nov. 10 in reply to news about an ongoing federal corruption investigation of UAW officials.
There is definitely no love lost between Biden and Musk. Recall when Biden started investigating Musk for having the audacity to hire Americans?
Obviously, Biden is salty because Musk doesn’t subscribe to Biden politics. Instead of working to boost the economy, Biden works to suck up to fellow leftists.
Within Tesla, there is a feeling among some executives that all of this is just politics: Biden will never win Texas, where Musk now lives, while Michigan — home to Ford and GM — and UAW support is key to Democratic victories both in upcoming midterm elections and in 2024.
Even some Biden aides say they wish the boss would warm to Musk’s company. “Bums me out as a satisfied Tesla owner,” one said. The White House officials who spoke for this story all asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue.
Last fall, after a White House event promoting electric vehicles that excluded Tesla, Musk said Biden is “biased” against the company and said his administration “seems to be controlled by unions.”
Musk has also belittled a key Biden policy: the president’s proposal to reinstate a $7,500-per-car tax credit for EVs and eliminate a cap on the number of vehicles from any one manufacturer that are eligible for the credit. Tesla hit the limit on the original EV tax credit in 2018.
For his belittling, Musk gets a little “gift” from the Biden Administration. Although I don’t think Biden came up with it on his own. As Bloomberg explains: “Consumers would be eligible for an extra $4,500 if they buy an EV assembled by union workers.” Which makes it pretty easy to guess that Tesla is non-union.
No wonder Musk wants the bill to be eradicated.
“Honestly, I would just can this whole bill,” Musk said of Biden’s Build Back Better legislation in December, shortly before Senator Joe Manchin, a key West Virginia centrist, killed the measure by withdrawing his support.
“Tesla has done extraordinary things for electric vehicles and that’s a big part of why the whole industry now knows EVs are the future,” White House spokeswoman Emilie Simons said in a statement to Bloomberg News.
She pointed out that Tesla has “benefited greatly” from EV tax credits in the past. “But, unfortunately, their CEO has suggested an opposition to new EV tax credits,” she said, without using Musk’s name.
Simons said the Thursday event at the White House was for business leaders who support Build Back Better. GM’s Barra recently became chair of the Business Roundtable, a lobbying group in Washington that, like Musk, opposes Build Back Better. But Barra has said she personally supports the measure.
Musk didn’t respond to an email requesting comment for this story. But he later weighed in on Bloomberg’s report with a one-word tweet: “Sigh.”
Tesla, founded in 2003, makes fully electric cars at its factories inCalifornia and Shanghai. The company moved its corporate headquarters last year from Palo Alto, California, to Austin, Texas. Now, it has completed a new factory larger than the Pentagon.
Tesla has about 10,000 workers at its factory in Fremont, California. The UAW, headquartered in Detroit, has made various attempts to organize workers there with little success.
Other purely electric vehicle companies, including Lucid Group Inc. and Amazon-backed Rivian Automotive Inc. are also non-union — and Biden hasn’t said anything about them, either, according to a search of his public remarks at Factba.se. Like Tesla workers, employees at Lucid and Rivian also enjoy stock options as part of their compensation packages.
It’s pretty clear, Biden prefers the possibilities of union corruption over the sharing of success. That’s exactly why our economy went belly-up almost the second Biden took office.