Elon Musk really, really doesn’t want to talk about Donald Trump. Musk’s hesitation was palpable during an interview Friday afternoon, where CNBC anchor Carl Quintanilla pushed him to comment on whether he though a Trump presidency would throw a wrench in his plans for expanding the network of Tesla Superchargers. Musk’s response was basically: “Ehhh, I’m not too worried,” but when pressed, he didn’t shy away from saying that Trump, frankly, wasn’t that great.
“I don’t think this is the finest moment in our democracy,” Musk said. “I feel stronger probably about the fact that he’s not the right guy. He doesn’t seem to have the sort of character that reflects well on the United States.”
Quintanilla started the Trump-talk by asking Musk how much political risk the tech baron’s business interests faced from a Trump presidency. Federal government policy plays a large role in many of Musk’s plans for a clean energy future, but during today’s interview, he didn’t really seem to give a shit, because Tesla’s supercharger system is already doing pretty well.
“I don’t think [the risk to Tesla] is very high,” Musk said, after a pause and some stuttering. “You can go anywhere in the United States on a Tesla Supercharger Network right now.”
Quintanilla and CNBC guest interviewer Ronald Baron (who owns $300 million in Tesla stocks) kept the thread going, leading to Musk’s comments about Trump’s character. The interview as a whole started out as a conversation about the somewhat-controversial new Solar City and Tesla merger but eventually devolved into a sound-bite run-down of all of Musk’s various ventures — and Trump, of course. While he didn’t make a complete endorsement, it’s pretty clear whose side he’s on.
“I think Hillary [Clinton]’s economic policies and her environmental policies particularly are the right ones,” Musk said.