Kanye West is in the news for his Presidential bid, and the personal drama surrounding it. But he has one major backer from the Silicon Valley establishment – Elon Musk.
Debate still rages over whether Kanye’s bid is serious, and if so, whether he’d take more votes away from Joe Biden, Donald Trump, or if he will have a tangible impact at all. But Elon Musk is already convinced.
In fact, Musk was convinced as soon as Kanye announced his ambitions via Twitter, prior to any campaign event or policy platform. “You have my full support,” said the Tesla CEO.
You have my full support!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 5, 2020
Some speculate that Musk is endorsing Kanye now in anticipation for 2024, so he can secure more subsidies and business certainty for his space company SpaceX, which continues to face failures as recently as the end of May.
Like Kanye, Musk has on occasion cozied up to President Trump (and flirted with the “red pill”) in the past to secure media coverage or favorable business and political outcomes or for himself. He’s even accepted positions on Trump advisory councils, seemingly to benefit these same interests.
Nevertheless, Musk’s loyalties have always been fickle, and he has never been afraid to publicly bash the president. Prior to his endorsement of Kanye, Musk publicly backed Democrat hopeful Andrew Yang.
Musk’s earliest public statements on Trump came in October 2015, four months after the latter kicked off his campaign and months before the primaries began. Asked about Trump’s chances as part of a larger public forum on the future of tech, a visibly uncomfortable Musk picked his words carefully.
“I don’t really have strong feelings except that hopefully Trump doesn’t get the nomination of the Republican party, because I think that’s, yeah… that wouldn’t be good,” Musk said. “I think at most he would get the Republican nomination, but I think that would still be a bit embarrassing.”
On November 4, 2016, four days before the election, Musk condemned Trump and endorsed Hillary Clinton.
His public Trump-bashing continued after the President’s victory. Even after Trump appointed him to an economic advisory council, Musk felt the need to publicly distance himself from the President.
Regarding the meeting at the White House: pic.twitter.com/8b1XH4oW6h
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 3, 2017
Shortly afterward, Musk joined 18 other business leaders in a boycott of the council, in protest at the President’s decision to exit the Paris Climate Accords.
Despite President Trump repeatedly showing goodwill to Musk – the President recently praised the Tesla founder as one of America’s “great geniuses” – and despite Musk flirting with the conservative base with “red pill” comments and criticism of mainstream journalists, it seems that he, like other Big Tech oligarchs, will never fully join the MAGA movement. His endorsement of Kanye West is just the latest reminder that Trump will never enjoy his full support.