The billionaire entrepreneur and the former president clashed numerous times in 2022.
Elon Musk and Donald Trump both want win the hearts of Republicans.
The first has become in the past year one of the most influential voices in Republican and conservative circles, which applaud his determination to make Twitter a platform where conservative voices dominate after nearly two years marked by safeguards on the social network to limit xenophobic messages, abuse and the spread of false information.
Like many conservatives, Musk railed against Twitter 1.0’s content policy, which went so far as to banish former President Donald Trump after his supporters stormed Congress on Jan. 6, 2021 to block certification of Joe Biden’s victory.
Twitter had also deactivated the accounts of members of the far right and accounts violating its policy about transgender people for example.
But no sooner had the Twitter deal been finalized on Oct. 27 than Musk instituted a laissez-faire approach in the name of free speech. He reactivated most of the blocked accounts, including Trump’s.
Musk Has a Growing Influence
The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, who describes himself as a “free Speech absolutist,” has also made it his mission to rebalance, according to him, the balance of power between conservatives and progressives on social networks and in the media. This mission has earned him the support of many conservatives, who see in him a sort of new hero.
His popularity has continued to grow in recent months to the point where Musk has more than 124 million followers on Twitter. That’s more than the nearly 88 million followers Trump had amassed on his personal Twitter account — @RealDonaldTrump — before it was suspended after the January 2021 events at the Capitol.
Musk receives unparalleled media coverage, reminiscent of Trump’s when he was in the White House. This influence of the Techno King, as he’s known at Tesla, thus overshadows Trump, who launched his campaign for the 2024 presidential election last November.
The former president sees Musk as an adversary because the latter has announced that he would support Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis should he decide to run. The entrepreneur also asked Trump to retire because he was too old.
“Trump would be 82 at end of term, which is too old to be chief executive of anything, let alone the United States of America,” Musk said for example last July. “If DeSantis runs against Biden in 2024, then DeSantis will easily win – he doesn’t even need to campaign.”
“I don’t hate the man, but it’s time for Trump to hang up his hat & sail into the sunset,” Musk also said the same day.
Musk has pledged to personally spend $20 million to $25 million to support his candidate.
But Trump, who is as abrasive as Musk, responded to the attacks by calling the tech mogul a “bullshit artist.”
“Elon, Elon is not going to buy Twitter,” Trump said on July 9 at a rally in Anchorage, Alaska. “Where did you hear that before? From me.” And then he went on the attack.
“You know, he said the other day ‘Oh, I’ve never voted for a Republican’. I said I didn’t know that. He told me he voted for me. So he’s another bullshit artist.”
An Unexpected Topic of Agreement
There have been more spades between the two men. Recently, Musk did not hesitate to remind Trump, who continues to contest the results of the 2020 elections, that the Constitution is above all men.
“The Constitution is greater than any President. End of story” Musk posted on Twitter on Dec. 5, after the former President called for the suspension of the US Constitution, due, he said, to the alleged “massive and widespread fraud” in the 2020 presidential election.
The two men have therefore had more subjects of dissension between them in recent months than subjects of agreement. It should also be remembered that despite the reactivation of his Twitter account by Musk, Trump has still not posted a single message.
But things have just changed as Musk seems to share Trump’s analysis of one of the main reasons for the absence of a red wave during the midterm elections last November.
According to Trump, the mixed results and defeats of some Republican candidates are not his fault but are due to the fact that many conservatives did not go to the polls because the Supreme Court gave them an unexpected victory by making abortion illegal at the federal level.
The Supreme Court indeed overturned Roe V. Wade on June 24.
“It wasn’t my fault that the Republicans didn’t live up to expectations in the MidTerms. I was 233-20!” Trump lamented on Truth Social, his social media on Jan. 1. “It was the ‘abortion issue,’ poorly handled by many Republicans, especially those that firmly insisted on No Exceptions, even in the case of Rape, Incest, or Life of the Mother, that lost large numbers of Voters.”
He continued: “Also, the people that pushed so hard, for decades, against abortion, got their wish from the U.S. Supreme Court, & just plain disappeared, not to be seen again. Plus, Mitch stupid $’s!”
The former president’s analysis was brought to Musk’s attention by a Twitter user. The billionaire did not hesitate to let it be known that he shared it in the vast majority.
“Mostly accurate tbh,” Musk commented.