Elon Musk wants Kevin McCarthy to be speaker of the House and Ron DeSantis to be president

January 5, 2023, 5:14 PM UTC
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has thrown his weight behind Republicans Kevin McCarthy and Ron DeSantis.

Elon Musk is wading into politics—and letting his thoughts be known. The billionaire Tesla, SpaceX, and Twitter CEO indicated in November that he would support Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for president, and today he threw his weight behind GOP lawmaker Kevin McCarthy as House speaker. That follows him urging his more than 110 million Twitter followers to vote Republican in the midterms a day before voters went to the polls.

This week, McCarthy has failed repeatedly in his bid to become House speaker, with right-flank conservatives led by the Freedom Caucus refusing to vote for him. (The last time a speaker candidate didn’t win the first vote was 100 years ago.) Incoming lawmakers cannot be sworn in until the position is filled. President Joe Biden called the political chaos on Capitol Hill “embarrassing,” while House Democrats shared images of popcorn while likening the GOP drama to a big-screen spectacle.

Musk tweeted today, “Kevin McCarthy should be Speaker.”

Musk and McCarthy have joined forces in the past. SpaceX has operations in Bakersfield, Calif., which falls within the GOP lawmaker’s district. In August, Musk attended a private Republican fundraiser retreat in Wyoming hosted by McCarthy, with whom he led a fireside chat.

In early 2020, Musk complained that Democrat-led California, where he lived at the time and where Tesla was based, “used to be the land of opportunity” but had become “the land of taxes, overregulation, and litigation.” Later that year, he announced that he had moved to Republican-led Texas. Tesla meanwhile has plans to expand its gigafactory in the state, where SpaceX’s new Starship vehicle is also located.

He added at the time, “Silicon Valley, or the Bay Area, has too much influence on the world, in my opinion. The Bay Area has outsized influence on the world.”

In November, McCarthy accused the White House of unfairly targeting new Twitter owner Musk for his political views: “The government’s going to go after someone who wants to have free speech? What do they have to look at Twitter about? I think the American public had spoken on this, I think our First Amendment stands up, and I think they should just stop picking on Elon Musk.”

Musk ‘disappointed’ in Biden admin

That same month, Musk replied “yes” when asked whether he’d support a DeSantis run for the White House. 

“My preference for the 2024 presidency is someone sensible and centrist,” he tweeted on Nov. 25. I had hoped that would [be] the case for the Biden administration, but have been disappointed so far.” 

He added, “As a reminder, I was a significant supporter of the Obama-Biden presidency and (reluctantly) voted for Biden over Trump.” Musk has been angry in the past about what he perceives as Biden snubbing Tesla when he mentions major EV manufacturers.

DeSantis has not announced a White House bid but is widely expected to do so after Florida’s legislative session in the spring or summer. Several polls have shown him leading Trump in a head-to-head matchup for the GOP nomination.

Both DeSantis and Musk have spoken out against what they see as the “woke agenda.” DeSantis said in his midterms victory speech that “Florida is where woke goes to die,” and Musk tweeted last year that “the woke mind virus is making Netflix unwatchable.” He also reinstated the Twitter account of the right-wing satire site Babylon Bee, which had been banned after the misgendering of Rachel Levine, the U.S. assistant secretary of health and a trans woman. 

Musk’s ex-wife, Talulah Riley, has previously urged him to “do something to fight woke-ism” and was especially concerned about the suspension of the Babylon Bee account, asking, “Why has everyone become so puritanical?”

Just before the midterms, Musk wrote to his followers on Twitter: “To independent-minded voters: Shared power curbs the worst excesses of both parties, therefore I recommend voting for a Republican Congress, given that the presidency is Democratic.” 

The much-anticipated “red wave” failed to materialize, however, with Democrats gaining a seat in the Senate, while Republicans eked out just enough votes to retake control of the House. 

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