In his first comments since the FBI raid on his Mar-a-Lago compound, Donald Trump took aim at electric vehicles in a weekend speech that managed to attack two of his main opponents – rising Republican star Elon Musk as well as the outgoing president. Joe Biden.
Trump’s ambition to be the first to win back the White House since Grover Cleveland in 1893 was shattered last month when law enforcement authorities seized confidential federal government documents illegally stored at the Trump’s home in Florida.
The polarizer Apprentice The reality TV star turned politician had already faced an uphill battle lately. Soaring gas prices have waned, robbing Republicans of their biggest cudgel, while Biden has secured a string of landmark legislative victories for his policy agenda, including tax breaks for electric vehicles popularized by Musk’s Tesla. .
In a speech this weekend in the mining town of Wilkes Barre in Pennsylvania, Trump hinted that he would cancel those grants, telling the story of a friend who was tired of driving his electric vehicle from Kentucky to Washington, DC, because of all the alleged charging shutdowns.
“He said to me (…) ‘please, please, let’s get rid of this thing’”, claimed Trumpadding that it would have taken the person “longer to charge the damn car” than to drive it.
Trump often indicates his own personal preferences by telling them in stories based on anonymous, nameless people that are difficult or impossible to verify, in an effort to make them sound like they have broad grassroots support.
For example, it would seem unlikely that Trump could have referred to the representative from Kentucky Thomas Masse, one of the few Republican members of Congress to drive a Tesla. The MIT-trained electrical engineer has been a client of Musk for a decade now and would be well used to driving one.
Feud with Musk
Any throwback on electric vehicles will likely hurt Musk’s business. Despite the best efforts of its competitors, Musk’s company continues to dominate the US electric vehicle market. According to industry research firm Kelley Blue Book, two out of three new electric vehicles are sold in the country. sported a Tesla badge on the hood.
Importantly, the visionary CEO not only has a growing following among Republicans since switching parties, but he also opposes Trump’s continued stranglehold on the party and favors his more big internal competitor: the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis.
A feud erupted after Trump called Musk “another bullshit artist,” prompting the Tesla CEO to tell the ex-president his political career was over.
‘It’s time for Trump to hang up his hat and sail into the sunset,’ he wrote, ending any debate over whether he might back the money tycoon’s bid. real estate for another term in the White House.
His support for DeSantis puts him at odds with the Tesla CEO’s former business partner, Peter Thiel, an influential Silicon Valley venture capitalist and an early supporter of Trump during his successful bid for office in 2016.
Rust Belt Victory
The automotive industry is not just any industry. It represents the decline of America’s middle class once built on stable, well-paying factory jobs with health care, pensions and other benefits.
Trump managed to win the 2016 election against a highly favored Hillary Clinton by defeating her in the country’s Rust Belt.
He was able to topple blue states like Michigan with his attack on the NAFTA free trade deal that sent thousands of jobs to US assembly plants south of the border as well as threats impose punitive 25% import tariffs on Mexican-built cars.
Although Biden defeated him by taking over Democratic strongholds through his membership in unions like the United Auto Workers, his effusive praise for Tesla rivals like General Motors didn’t always go down well.
CEO Mary Barra recently decided to build the Chevrolet Blazer EV in Mexico rather than a factory organized by the UAW.
If Trump was leading the Republican ticket in 2024, he’ll likely need UAW members to trust his “America First” policy again, despite notable defeats as well.
Trump’s attack on electric vehicles comes days after Tucker Carlson devoted part of his daily show to portraying these cars as a danger to freedom and a Trojan horse for state control, as regulators like those in California can impose blackouts.
“You have hundreds of millions of Americans who depend on cars that the government can turn off in a second, who actually use software that tracks your every move,” said the controversial Fox News host Last week.
With the proper hardware, any car can be tracked – China instituted it for its new fleet of vehicles. Yet it was Tesla that popularized the collection of customer data to deliver products like its fully autonomous driver assistance system and Tesla Insurance.
Trump’s campaign against electric vehicles has drawn condemnation from Musk loyalists like Eva McMillan, who has nearly 11,000 followers who follow her FSD beta tests and other Tesla-related content.
“I can’t believe I voted twice for Trump,” she said. job. “I watched his arrogant personality for many years. Now he potentially hurts Tesla and that’s a fine line. He lost a big believer.
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