Trump says he has met Musk, but disagrees on electric vehicles

Elon Musk’s support for electric vehicle production could be a sticking point between him and former President Donald Trump’s campaign.
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  • Donald Trump disagrees with Elon Musk on electric vehicles.
  • The former president said the Biden administration’s EV mandate was given by “very stupid people.”
  • Trump confirmed he had met Musk but said he did not know whether he would receive his support.

Donald Trump may be asking Elon Musk for possible campaign support, but don’t expect the former president to change his message on electric cars anytime soon.

Trump confirmed he recently met with Tesla’s CEO interview Monday on CNBC’s SquawkBox, but said he didn’t know if he would ultimately get Musk’s approval.

He added that while he personally likes the Tesla CEO, the two are “clearly” not on the same page when it comes to “a little topic called electric cars.”

“They don’t go far, they cost too much, and they will all be made in China,” he said.

While Trump said he is “all in favor” of electric vehicle production, he suggested that an all-electric future is impractical in the near term due to the state of the U.S. power grid, which he described as “outdated and a disaster.”

“You have to have all the alternatives,” he said.

“Electric cars – there is not even the option of fully electric driving,” he added. “This all-electric mandate from Biden belongs to very, very stupid people.”

The former president was likely referring to his successor’s aim to increase EV production to 60% of new vehicles by 2030. These targets announced last year are reportedly being relaxed thanks to recently sluggish EV sales.

The Biden administration has also invested in multibillion-dollar efforts to strengthen the electric grid and expand the availability of charging networks.

Trump made headlines at Christmas with a post on Truth Social, in which he said that followers of ‘Electric Car Lunacy’, among others, are ‘THUGS’ who can ‘ROT IN HELL’. Trump posted the message, which also discussed “No Energy Independence” and the “Green New Scam,” lashing out against the criminal charges he is facing.

Trump met with Musk in Palm Beach, Florida, last week as he looks to boost donations to his presidential campaign. Musk later said he would not donate money to “either candidate for the US presidency” – although some are not convinced.

During the Trump administration, Musk served on two presidential advisory councils but left after Trump voted to withdraw from the US Paris Climate Accords.

Musk has previously suggested that Trump’s ties to the oil and gas industry limited his support of EV makers such as Tesla during his presidency. Musk also claimed he was voted for Biden, not Trump, in 2020 – although according to his biographer, he actually stayed home on Election Day. In May 2022, Musk said he planned to vote Republican in “this election” but did not indicate whether he meant the midterm elections or the 2024 presidential election. Later that year, he said he did not yet know whether he would vote for Trump.

Trump has not shied away from criticizing Musk in recent years. In 2022, Trump said the tech billionaire had come to the White House to ask for help “for all his many subsidized projects,” including his “electric cars that don’t run long enough,” his “driverless cars that crash” and his “rocket ships to nowhere.”

“I could have said, ‘Get on your knees and beg,’ and he would have done it,” the former president said at the time.

Trump acknowledged Monday that the United Auto Workers recently supported President Biden’s campaign — adding that union leaders were “like blind sheep.” Nevertheless, he claimed that “the autoworkers will vote for Trump.”

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