"I don't know really what their issue is."
That's how the world's richest man describes the apparent 'beef' that the Biden administration has with him (apart from him calling them on their bullshit and enabling a free-speech platform for others to discuss non-approved narratives).
Specifically, Elon Musk told the panel on the 'All-In' Podcast Summit yesterday:
"...there does seem to be some significant increase in the weaponization of government and really sort of misuse of prosecutorial discretion in many areas... I think this is really a dangerous thing for there to be partisan politics with government agencies.”
"Elon, does the Biden administration have it out for you, and why?" All-In host entrepreneur David Sacks asked Musk.
"Ha. What ever gave you that idea?" Musk joked.
“I don't think the whole administration has it out for me,” he added.
“But I think there’s probably aspects of the administration... or aspects of interests aligned with President Biden who probably do not wish good things for me.”
As a reminder, DOJ and SEC are currently investigating Tesla for allegedly allocating funds to a secret project to build Musk a house - which Musk has denied (and Walter Isaacson's biography also confirms has been dropped). Additionally SpaceX is being investigated by DOJ for not hiring illegal immigrants (no, seriously). Then there's the FAA nitpicking over SpaceX approval:
"The only thing holding back the second planned Starship at this point is regulatory approval," signifying that they are only waiting for FAA for their next launch.
Regarding Tesla, Musk focused on the company's operations in China.
He expressed concerns about China's military capabilities, noting, "there will come a point in the not too distant future where China's military strength in that region far exceeds America's."
This point underlined the broader geopolitical considerations he takes into account in his business ventures, which brings us back to Starlink and the recent controversy over Ukraine demanding him enable the satellite web service for an attack on Crimea.
Musk made it clear that Walter Isaacson - his biographer - had misunderstood the situation and that the initial decision to not allow access to Starlink around the Crimean border was due to sanctions from the Biden administration.
"Starlink have provided connectivity to Ukraine since the beginning of the war and as the Ukrainian government has said, Starlink was instrumental in the defense of Ukraine - although the media forgets to mention that."
Musk explains that "at the time [the attack] happened, the region around Crimea was turned off... and the reason it was turned off was because the United States has sanctions against Russia, which includes Crimea, and we are not allowed to turn on connectivity to a sanctioned country without explicit permission - which we did not have from the US government."
Starlink was approached with immediate demands in the middle of the night to turn on Crimea, by the Ukrainian government, which Musk explains "was to enable a Pearl-Harbor-type attack on Sevastopol. So they were really asking us to take part proactively in a major act of war."
The billionaire continued to note that while we have "huge empathy and support" for the Ukrainian people, Musk notes more seriously, "the Ukrainian government is not in charge of American people or companies."
The audience applauded as he added "that's not how it works."
"While I am not President Biden's biggest fan, if I had received a presidential directive to turn it on, I would have done so because I do regard the president as the chief executive officer of the country, and whether I like him or not, I still respect the office."
But, he concludes, "no such request came through."
Still, not of that matters for CNN's narrative...
They’re desperate for ratings. Best to ignore them.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 13, 2023
And Musk added that "to his credit, Secretary Blinken was quite supportive and did not take Jake Tapper's bait" when the CNN anchor demanded retribution for Musk's refusal to turn on Starlink.
It should not be lost on anyone that during last night's attack on Russia's Crimean port of Sevastopol, Starlink suffered a global outage...
Finally, despite the efforts of ADL and CCDH, Musk highlighted his platform X (formerly known as Twitter) has seen growing appeal to creators and adds that "we've recently seen a significant increase in advertising."
Musk emphasized that the platform aims to become the best home for content creators, opening up another avenue for innovation.
Still, how much of this narrative-busting interview will ever make it to mainstream media is questionable when there's a narrative to be spun and an election to be manipulated.
Watch the full interview below:
- (0:00) Besties welcome Elon via Starlink
- (05:31) Ukraine and Starlink
- (19:10) green shoots of X
- (22:24) the creator economy and optimizing the X experience
- (26:43) the ADL, free speech, and advocating for peace
- (32:41) China
- (37:20) AI
- (44:30) where are we with self-driving?