On Friday, US President Joe Biden made a disparaging comparison between Tesla and Ford, sarcastically wishing Tesla CEO Elon Musk “a lot of luck” on his “journey to the moon” after the billionaire voiced concerns about the economy. According to Reuters, Musk wrote to executives in an email saying he had a “very awful feeling” about the US economy and that the electric automaker has to reduce approximately 10% of its workforce.
When asked about Musk’s statements by Reuters, Biden stated that the problem could be with Tesla. “While Elon Musk is talking about it, Ford is significantly upping their investment,” Biden remarked. “Ford is expanding its investment in electric cars and producing new ones. In the Midwest, there are 6,000 new workers, all of whom are unionized.” He went on to say, “So, you know, best of luck on his voyage to the moon.”
“Thanks Mr President!” Musk answered on Twitter, with a link to Nasa’s April 2021 award of a US$2.9 billion contract to Musk’s SpaceX to develop a spaceship to transport humans to the moon. It’s not the first time the 79-year-old commander-in-chief, who confesses to an occasional Irish temper, has clashed with South African-born Musk, 50, who rose to become the world’s richest man as a serial entrepreneur but has recently focused on US political battles and a Twitter takeover.
Electric vehicles (EVs) are at the heart of Biden’s proposal to turn the United States into a manufacturing powerhouse, compete with China, and combat climate change. In Detroit, though, he has paid considerably more attention to Musk’s unionized competition. Musk has been critical of Biden’s union-first, subsidy-heavy strategy to creating the EV market in his many tweets addressed at the president, complaining about the lack of appreciation.
Last month, Musk said that he would no longer vote for members of Biden’s Democratic Party because they had “become the party of division and hatred.” After purchasing Twitter, he vowed to restore Republican former President Donald Trump’s access to the social media network.
Tesla outperformed Wall Street expectations in April, despite hiking prices to combat the car industry’s inflationary pressures. After Reuters released the news on Musk’s email, shares plunged more than 8% on Friday, as investors were concerned that the CEO’s words foreshadowed future troubles. Musk said on Tuesday that employees who do not work for 40 hours per week would be fired.
Prior to Biden’s remark on Musk, Trump had just delivered a speech hailing stronger-than-expected US job creation in May and dismissing criticism of his management of inflation, which is approaching 40-year highs. However, he cautioned that, if the Federal Reserve raises interest rates to combat inflation, employment growth may decrease in the coming months.
“We’re not likely to see the type of month after month of blockbuster employment numbers that we’ve seen this year,” he added. “However, this is a positive thing.” That’s an indication of a strong economy.” Jamie Dimon, head of JPMorgan Chase & Co, stated this week that “you have to prepare yourself” for an impending economic “storm.” Other CEOs and economists, on the other hand, believe that the solid US labor market, consumer savings, and robust demand will enable the economy to accomplish a “soft landing” to more sustainable growth at lower levels after the Covid-19 pandemic’s quick recovery.