Trump advisor Steve Bannon (L) watches as President Donald Trump greets Elon Musk, SpaceX and Tesla CEO, before a policy and strategy forum with executives within the State Dining Room of the White House February 3, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images
Elon Musk said twice this week that he plans to vote for Republicans in upcoming elections, though he says he previously voted for Democrats corresponding to former President Barack Obama.
Musk’s stated political leanings won’t surprise individuals who follow the celebrity CEO’s interactions and proclamations on Twitter and elsewhere.
Behind the scenes, Musk and his biggest corporations, SpaceX and Tesla, have worked to influence the U.S. political landscape for years through lobbying and political donations. Combined, SpaceX and Tesla spent over $2 million on lobbying in 2021. They have an inclination to spend on either side of the aisle.
But Musk has been historically anti-union, against a billionaire’s tax and is a vocal critic of President Joe Biden.
Meanwhile, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, said in a September interview with CNBC that Musk approved of his red-state social policies, which have included severe abortion restrictions, book bans that called for LGBTQ memoirs to be faraway from school curriculum or libraries, and abuse investigations into families pursuing gender-affirming take care of transgender children.
On Wednesday, Musk wrote on Twitter:
“Up to now I voted Democrat, because they were (mostly) the kindness party. But they’ve turn out to be the party of division & hate, so I can now not support them and can vote Republican. Now, watch their dirty tricks campaign against me unfold…” adding a movie popcorn emoji for emphasis.
The tweet followed earlier statements on the All In Summit in Miami on Monday, where Elon Musk accused Twitter of getting a powerful left-wing bias, saying during a podcast recording, “I’d classify myself as a moderate, neither Republican or Democrat. In truth, I even have voted overwhelmingly for Democrats historically. Overwhelmingly. I’d never have voted Republican. Now, this election? I’ll.”
Musk has characterised his pending $44 billion acquisition of Twitter a “moderate takeover” of the platform, not a right-wing takeover. But he then proceeded to bash the Democratic Party.
Spurred by podcast and event host Jason Calacanis, who’s raising funds to assist Musk acquire Twitter, the Tesla CEO said, “The Democratic party is overly controlled by the unions and the trial lawyers, particularly the class-action lawyers.”
On the social platform, Musk has incessantly insulted and scrapped with elected Democrats, including Biden, Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ron Wyden, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
In contrast, he tends to interact in a friendly and nonconfrontational manner with right-wing elected officials like GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert and far-right personalities including Steven Crowder, Dinesh D’Souza and others.
Crowder, a podcast host who bills himself as a comedian, was once suspended from YouTube for violating the platform’s hate speech policy after he made comments against trans people. He was also denounced by the Asian American Journalists Association after he made remarks a few broadcast journalist at San Francisco’s KPIX which they deemed racist and sexist.
D’Souza, a conservative commentator, has produced videos and books containing hyperbolic criticism of Democratic leaders for years. He pleaded guilty in 2014 to breaking campaign finance laws, and was later pardoned by President Donald Trump. D’Souza was uninvited from the annual conservative CPAC conference in 2018 after he ridiculed survivors of the Parkland, Florida school shooting.
Musk also has said that he would reinstate Trump on Twitter.
Twitter permanently suspended the previous president from the platform in January 2021 following an attack by his supporters on the U.S. Capitol. The corporate said it made the choice following the Jan. 6 riot “attributable to the danger of further incitement of violence.”