Trump drags Elon Musk to hell for Tesla's use of federal subsidies

"I could have said, 'drop to your knees and beg,' and he would have done it..."

NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 17: Former U.S. President Donald Trump gives the keynote address at the Faith &...
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Donald J. Trump may not be allowed on Twitter anymore, but he’s not letting that stop him from weighing in on the current Elon Musk drama. Trump took to Truth Social Tuesday evening to post a photo of him and Musk in the Oval Office, along with a threaded message about Musk’s inability to operate Tesla without government assistance. Trump currently has 3.5 million followers on the platform.

“When Elon Musk came to the White House asking me for help on all of his many subsidized projects, whether it’s electric cars that don’t drive long enough, driverless cars that crash, or rocketships to nowhere,” Trump wrote, “without which subsidies he’d be worthless, and telling me how he was a big Trump fan and a Republican, I could have said ‘drop to your knees and beg,’ and he would have done it...”

Trump then went on to say that Musk should focus on “getting himself out of the Twitter mess” along with a quick mention of the increasing competition in the electric vehicle market.

Drop to your knees and beg — Musk is generally impervious to criticism (or he presents himself as such, at the very least), but Trump knew right where to hit him so it would hurt. Musk loves to think of himself as a self-made man, a rags-to-richest-man-in-the-world type, but he has actually received plenty of outside help along the way.

By 2015, Musk’s ventures had received an estimated $4.9 billion in government support, according to an investigation by the Los Angeles Times. The massive Gigafactory in Nevada was bankrolled in part by $1.3 billion in tax breaks provided by the state of Nevada. SpaceX received $15 billion in subsidies from Texas back in 2014.

Musk’s businesses have accepted plenty more help from government agencies in the years since. Tesla received payroll-related benefits as part of the $600 billion offered to businesses in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, while SpaceX was awarded a $2.89 billion contract by NASA in April 2021.


Dig after dig after dig — As much as we hate to say it, the former President makes some prescient points in his three-post thread. Tesla’s “driverless cars” do indeed crash on a fairly regular basis. His “rocketships to nowhere” company has extensive problems of its own. There is a ton of competition in the EV market now. And, yes, Musk’s Twitter acquisition is a mess of epic proportions.

Before logging off, Trump also took a moment to swing at former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. “P.S., Why was Elon allowed to break the $15 million stock purchase barrier on Twitter without any reporting?” he wrote, along with a photo of him and Dorsey in the Oval Office. “That is a very serious breach! Have fun Elon and @jack, go to it!”

Musk hasn’t said much at all about the posts, other than posting a Simpsons reaction GIF in response to a tweeted screenshot of Trump’s Truths.