Trump Critic Elon Musk Chosen for Presidential Advisory Team
The Tesla CEO has been vocal about Trump's anti-science views on climate change.
Elon Musk. Image: Heisenberg Media/Flickr
The transition team for President-elect Donald Trump announced today that they've added Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick to an advisory team of business leaders known as the Strategic and Policy Forum.
The 16 person team, brought together about a month ago, is comprised of CEOs bigwigs pulled from across the United States. The plan is for them regularly meet with Trump and share their experience and money know-how with the President-elect, whose own business has filed for bankruptcy six times, as he makes moves on his economic agenda. PepsiCo's Indra Nooyi was also on the roster.
Noticeably absent from this advisory team are many of the Silicon Valley tech giants like Apple, Facebook and Alphabet, Google's parent company. The tech world, barring Peter Thiel and cronies, was openly averse to Trump's harsh rhetoric about immigrants during the campaign.
Interestingly, both Musk and Kalanick were also quite critical of President-elect Trump before the election. Kalanick jokingly quipped that he would move to China if Trump was elected. But Musk was much more vocal in his dislike of the President-elect. The Tesla CEO told CNBC in an interview before November 8th that he believed Trump was "not the right man for the job," saying that "he doesn't seem to have the character that reflects well on the States."
Musk, who has built an empire on harnessing renewable energy, and is outspoken on the dangers of climate change, said he believed that Hillary Clinton's economic and environmental policies were the right ones. Meanwhile, Trump said he believes global warming to be a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese, and since his election, has proceeded to pack his cabinet full of those who deny climate change.
Even immediately after the election, Musk lamented that the election was "not the finest moment in our democracy in general."
At a speech he gave in Nevada to kick off the opening of his Gigafactory—a plant that builds lithium ion batteries to power Tesla cars and store energy in homes and businesses —he frequently referred to the dangers of global warming and the fossil fueled propaganda machine that continually attempts to discredit the science.
"I know you guys think global warming is real," he said to his supporters "but the crazy thing is a lot of people out there don't. It blows my mind." He's going to be advising one of those people pretty soon, including those in Trump's cabinet.
It's not clear how Musk will communicate his beliefs for the new administration, or if he will put them aside in order to work with the president-elect, but the two do have some things in common. Trump announced earlier this year that he thinks the US should invest in private space exploration, which could be a boon for Musk's SpaceX. The two also have made tremendous wealth on selling products catered to a very select wealthy few—Musk's Tesla cars, and Trump's luxury hotels are proof.
But it's doubtful that Musk will have any traction in convincing the president-elect to adopt more earth-friendly practices, given that he has appointed a cabinet full of fossil fuel advocates with drilling on their agenda.
Meanwhile, fellow tech company, Twitter, was left out of the meetings because they refused to support a Hillary Clinton emoji to go along with the #CrookedHillary hashtag that Trump's supporters were blasting out during campaign season.