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Biden digs at Tesla CEO Elon Musk on economy, touts Ford

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President Joe Biden on Friday brushed off Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s reported “super bad feeling” concerning the U.S. economy, while praising a few of Musk’s competitors for expanding their investments in electric vehicles.

Biden then took a dismissive-sounding swipe at Musk, a frequent critic of his administration. “A number of luck on his trip to the moon,” Biden said of the SpaceX founder.

The president had been asked about Musk after a speech in Delaware touting the solid jobs report released earlier Friday. The Labor Department found that the U.S. economy added 390,000 jobs in May, a greater figure than expected, while the unemployment rate held on the low level of three.6%.

Musk, meanwhile, told executives in an email Thursday that he has a “super bad feeling” concerning the economy and might want to cut 10% of Tesla’s jobs, in line with Reuters. Tesla shares fell on Friday.

Asked about Musk’s reported feeling, Biden praised Ford and Stellantis.

“Well, let me let you know, while Elon Musk is talking about that, Ford is increasing their investment overwhelmingly,” Biden said, pulling a notecard from his jacket pocket.

“I feel Ford is increasing investment in constructing recent electric vehicles, 6,000 recent employees, union employees, I would add, within the Midwest,” he said, adding that “the previous Chrysler corporation, Stellantis, also they are making similar investments in electric vehicles.”

Biden also noted Intel’s plans so as to add 20,000 recent jobs as a part of an investment in Ohio

“So, you understand, a lot of luck on his trip to the moon,” Biden said with a wave of his hands.

Musk didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment. But inside minutes of Biden’s remark, Musk tweeted “Thanks Mr. President!” together with an April 2021 press release from NASA announcing that SpaceX, Musk’s rocket travel company, had been chosen to land the subsequent Americans on the moon.

Musk, one in every of the world’s richest people, is within the midst of a deal to buy Twitter for $44 billion. He’s recently taken to sharing more politically charged tweets, including one message last month bashing Democrats and vowing to vote Republican.

The president’s put-down marked the most recent point of friction with Musk, who has been openly critical of each the White House and Biden himself.

In March, Musk bristled after Biden’s State of the Union address cheered the electric-vehicle efforts being made by Ford and General Motors while failing to say Tesla.

“No one is watching the State of the Union,” Musk said in an email to CNBC.

Two months later, Musk slammed the Biden administration as ineffective and said that “the actual president is whoever controls [Biden’s] teleprompter.”

A spokesman for Biden shot back: “Count us as unsurprised that an anti-labor billionaire would search for any opportunity to nip on the heels of probably the most pro-union and pro-worker President in modern history.”

— CNBC’s Brian Schwartz contributed to this report.

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