Trump Says He Met With Musk, Disagrees on EVs

Estimated read time 4 min read
  • Donald Trump doesn’t see eye-to-eye with Elon Musk on electric vehicles.
  • The former president said the Biden administration’s EV mandate was made by “very stupid people.”
  • Trump confirmed he met with Musk but said he doesn’t know if he’ll get his support.

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Donald Trump may be courting Elon Musk for potential campaign support, but don’t expect the former president to change his messaging on EVs anytime soon.

Trump confirmed that he met with the Tesla CEO recently in an interview on CNBC’s SquawkBox on Monday, but said he didn’t know whether he would eventually receive Musk’s endorsement.

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

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

While Trump said he is “all for” EV production, he suggested that an all-electric future is impractical in the short term due to the state of the US electric grid, which he described as “obsolete and a disaster.”

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

“Electric cars — there’s not even the possibility to go all-electric,” he added. “This Biden all-electric mandate is by very, very stupid people.”

The former president was presumably referring to his successor’s push to ramp up EV production to 60% of new vehicles by 2030. Those targets, announced last year, are reportedly being loosened thanks to lagging EV sales recently.

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

Trump made headlines on Christmas for a post on Truth Social where he said that supporters of “Electric Car Lunacy,” among others, are “THUGS” who can “ROT IN HELL.” Trump posted the message, which also mentioned “No Energy Independence” and the “Green New Scam,” as he lashed out against the criminal charges he faces.

Trump met with Musk in Palm Beach, Florida, last week, as he looks to boost donations to his presidential campaign. Musk later said that he would not donate money to “either candidate for US president” — though some are unconvinced.

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

Musk has previously suggested that Trump’s links to the oil and gas industry limited his support of EV manufacturers like Tesla during his presidency. Musk also claimed he voted for Biden, not Trump, in 2020 — though, according to his biographer, he actually stayed home on Election Day. In May 2022, Musk said he planned on voting Republican in “this election,” but didn’t specify if he meant the midterms or the 2024 presidential election. Later that year, he said he was undecided on whether he’d vote for Trump.

Trump hasn’t shied away from criticizing Musk in recent years. In 2022, Trump said the tech billionaire had come to the White House asking for help “on all of his many subsidized projects,” including his “electric cars that don’t drive long enough,” his “driverless cars that crash,” and his “rocketships to nowhere.”

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

Trump on Monday acknowledged the United Auto Workers recently endorsed President Biden’s campaign — adding that union leaders were “like blind sheep.” Nevertheless, he asserted that “the autoworkers are going to vote for Trump.”