Elon Musk quickly switched. After recent allegations of harassment, the technology billionaire is already talking about a political campaign against himself – even though he is not officially aspiring to any political office or mandate.
“The attacks against me should be viewed through a political lens – this is their default (despicable) strategy,” Musk tweeted Thursday. And: “Now we will see how your dirty campaign against me develops.” “Your” means the US Democrats.
At a tech conference in Miami on Tuesday, Musk announced that although he classifies himself as politically “moderate”, he no longer wants to support President Joe Biden’s party in the future, but rather the Republicans of his predecessor Donald Trump. The Democrats have gone from being a “party of kindness” to a “party of division and hatred”. And in the spirit of right-wing populist criticism, he described the elite Yale University as the “epicenter of the intellectual woke virus that is trying to destroy civilization”.
The announcement that the world’s richest man, according to Forbes, is changing political sides has caused a great deal of excitement. As expected, there was criticism from the liberal side and applause from the right-wing camp.
Since then there has been speculation: What is the 50-year-old who is currently trying to acquire Twitter for $ 44 billion up to? The short message service that Trump permanently blocked after the storming of the Capitol last year. Musk had already stated that he would release his account to the ex-president, saying that the blocking violated the right to freely express an opinion.
In his video appearance in Miami, he explained that he wants to buy Twitter with the intention of making the service “more balanced”. Twitter is currently trending strongly to the “left,” said Musk, who has made his billions with companies like Tesla, Space X and Boring Company.
Trump also owes his political successes to Twitter. With his constant barrage of provocations, breaking taboos, conspiracy theories and other statements that consciously pushed the boundaries of political correctness, he dominated the political debate according to the motto: What counts is attention. And even bad press helps.
However, since his Twitter ban, Trump has silenced everything else. He regularly appears on right-wing TV and radio shows, tours the country with his MAGA rallies and runs his own service, Truth Social, in the same way he once used Twitter.
He currently only has three million followers on Truth Social – on Twitter there were recently more than 88 million to whom he addressed his 56,500 tweets. But the excitement he expresses there quickly finds its way into the traditional media.
Musk can also provoke. In 2018, after accusing the press of losing credibility, he launched the website Pravda (Russian for truth), designed to rate the veracity of articles. And Trump is also reminiscent of a statement by former Chicago Mayor Rahn Emmanuel, who once called him “a guy who doesn’t like to lose”.
The ex-president is so reluctant to lose that in such a case he immediately calls cheating and wants to break the game. What is certain is that Trump, once back on Twitter, would continue to spread his tale of the stolen election via this gigantic megaphone.
So will Musk help Trump get re-elected in 2024? The question is currently difficult to answer, also because Musk is considered a “loose cannon”, as someone who constantly changes his mind.
In response to media inquiries, unlike the German-born billionaire Peter Thiel, for example, he stated that he currently had no intention of donating money to special political action committees (super-PACs) that support Republican candidates – neither in the upcoming congressional elections in November nor to those who, with a view to the next presidential election in 2024 are aimed specifically at Biden. He also has no plans to set up his own super PAC.
But that doesn’t mean he can’t support Republican candidates in other, less public ways. In the past he has donated money to both parties.
One explanation for Musk’s current statements could be recent arguments about who is responsible for the enormous price increases. The White House, for example, said via Biden’s Twitter account that the best way to get inflation under control is to ensure that big corporations pay “fair” taxes. This has also prompted angry tweets from the third richest man in the world, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
The Biden government wants rich people with assets of more than $100 million to pay at least 20 percent of their income in federal taxes. That alone could motivate Musk, whose estimated fortune is $219 billion, to want to replace the current administration.