The White House is reportedly worried Elon Musk would be a bad guest if invited to meet with President Biden — a target of frequent mockery by the Tesla founder.
Some of Biden’s top advisers have purportedly warned against inviting Musk to the White House over fears he would say something to embarrass the administration. The billionaire has repeatedly slammed the White House for failing to mention Tesla while discussing its plans for major nationwide investments in electric vehicles.
Biden and his close advisers are said to be irritated with Musk’s public criticism and have no immediate plans to invite him to the White House for future events, CNBC reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.
When CNBC asked about the White House’s apparent concerns, Musk responded with a pair of “roll on the floor laughing” emojis and suggested his attendance at a future meeting shouldn’t be a cause of concern.
“They have nothing to worry about,” Musk said. “I would do the right thing.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki and others have suggested that Tesla has been snubbed from business events because the company’s factories aren’t unionized.
In January, Biden met with the CEOs of Ford and General Motors while promoting his Build Back Better Bill and claimed that “companies like GM and Ford are building more electric vehicles here at home than ever before.”
That snub appeared to infuriate Musk, who referred to Biden last month as a “damp [sock] puppet in human form” and claimed the president was “treating the American public like fools.”
“It got to the point, hilariously, where no one in the administration was even allowed to say the word ‘Tesla’! The public outrage and media pressure about that statement forced him to admit that Tesla does in fact lead the EV industry,” Musk told CNBC.
Biden went several months without discussing Tesla’s leading position in the electric vehicle market — only recently mentioning Musk’s company for the first time. On Feb. 8, the president referred to Tesla as “our nation’s largest electric vehicle manufacturer.”
Musk argued that Biden “pointedly ignored Tesla at every turn” while touting other companies. Despite the tensions, Musk also downplayed the severity of his rift with Biden and other White House officials, asserting that the “notion of a feud is not quite right.”
“I have nothing against Biden otherwise, apart from general concern about more deficit spending, which would apply to any president, and actively supported the Obama-Biden election,” Musk told the outlet.
A White House spokesperson praised Musk in a statement to CNBC, telling the outlet that “Tesla has done extraordinary things for electric vehicles and that’s a big part of why the whole industry now knows EVs are the future.”
But the administration also took a dig at Musk, who has spoken out against federal subsidies for electric vehicles included in the Build Back Better bill. The legislation has passed the House but is stalled in the Senate.
“Tesla also benefited greatly from past EV tax credits, but unfortunately, their CEO has suggested an opposition to new EV tax credits,” a White House spokesperson added.