'He does good at rockets' - Trump showers Tesla CEO Elon Musk with strange praise at Davos

elon musk donald trump

Evan Vucci / AP

  • President Trump showered Tesla CEO Elon Musk with strange and confusing praise during a CNBC interview in Davos on Wednesday.
  • "I was worried about him, because he's one of our great geniuses, and we have to protect our genius," Trump said, comparing Musk to inventor Thomas Edison.
  • "He does good at rockets, too, by the way," the president said, referring to Musk's SpaceX business.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump showered Tesla CEO Elon Musk with strange and confusing praise during a CNBC interview on Wednesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

"I was worried about him, because he's one of our great geniuses, and we have to protect our genius," Trump said.

"We have to protect Thomas Edison and we have to protect all of these people that came up with originally the light bulb and the wheel and all of these things."

Trump referenced Musk and Tesla's past problems and their recent momentum in the interview. Musk was forced to step down as the electric carmaker's chairman and pay a $20 million fine in September after tweeting that he had secured the funding to take Tesla private, and he was taken to court in December for calling a British diver "pedo guy" on Twitter. However, Tesla has regained momentum in recent months, sending its stock up more than 80% in the past year.

"You go back a year and they were talking about the end of the company," Trump said. "And now all of a sudden they're talking about these great things."

The president also complimented Musk on another of his companies, SpaceX. The aerospace manufacturer is probably best known for its reusable rockets, which can be fired into the atmosphere then safely landed back on their launchpads.

"He does good at rockets, too, by the way," Trump said. "I never saw where the engines come down with no wings, no anything, and they're landing."

Trump's compliments are somewhat surprising given Musk quit two of the president's advisory councils in 2017, in protest of Trump's decision to pull the US out of the Paris climate accord. In November 2018, Musk agreed with "Recode Decode" podcast host Kara Swisher that Trump "screwed him."

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