Tesla CEO Elon Musk accused President Joe Biden of bias against his electric car company and said the current administration appears to be “controlled by unions.”
Asked at the Code Conference in California on Tuesday why he mocked the president in a tweet earlier this month after Biden failed to acknowledge SpaceX’s completion of its first all-civilian mission, Musk said Biden is “not the friendliest.”
Musk pointed specifically to an electric vehicle event hosted at the White House last month, to which Tesla — which sells more electric cars in the US than any other auto maker — wasn’t invited.
“Biden held this EV summit — didn’t invite Tesla. Invited GM, Ford, Chrysler, and UAW [United Auto Workers Union]. An EV summit at the White House. Didn’t mention Tesla once, and praised GM and Ford for leading the EV revolution,” Musk said Tuesday.
Musk added that the Biden administration is a “little biased or something … just not the friendliest administration.”
“Seems to be controlled by unions,” he said.
US President Joe Biden speaks at the Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, in Dearborn, Michigan.NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images
After last month’s EV summit snub, a reporter asked White House press secretary Jen Psaki if Tesla wasn’t invited to the event because its employees were not unionized.
“These are the three largest employers of the United Auto Workers, so I’ll let you draw your own conclusion.” Psaki said.
Musk has personally opposed unionization efforts in the past. In March the National Labor Relations Board ordered Musk to remove an anti-union tweet and tasked Tesla with posting a notice addressing the unlawful tweet at all of its US facilities nationwide.
In the 2018 tweet, Musk wrote, “Nothing stopping Tesla team at our car plant from voting union. Could do so tmrw if they wanted. But why pay union dues & give up stock options for nothing? Our safety record is 2X better than when plant was UAW & everybody already gets healthcare.”
Musk has personally opposed unionization efforts for Tesla in the past. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Tesla appealed the NLRB decision in April.
Musk has also vocally opposed a recently introduced bill that would give a $4,500 tax incentive to consumers buying electric vehicles assembled at US facilities with a union.
“This is written by Ford/UAW lobbyists, as they make their electric car in Mexico. Not obvious how this serves American taxpayers,” the Tesla billionaire tweeted, linking to a Bloomberg article about Ford’s production of its Mustang Mach-E cars in Mexico.
Musk’s clash with the Biden administration over unionization efforts appears to be at the root of other tensions between the business tycoon and the president.
On Sept 19, when SpaceX’s Inspiration4 mission successfully returned its four civilian astronauts to Earth, capping the first US flight to orbit carrying only amateur astronauts, Musk explained Biden’s silence by saying “He’s still sleeping.”
And later that same day, Musk acknowledged a meme that showed an alien parasite clamped onto a victim’s face in which the alien was labeled “UAW” and the victim “Biden.”
Musk replied, “Seems that way.”