Elon Musk won't say whether he's voting for Trump: 'Let's just see how the debates go'

Elon Musk won't say whether he's voting for Trump: 'Let's just see how the debates go'
Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.Maja Hitij/Getty Images
  • Elon Musk won't say who he's voting for for president, telling The New York Times' Kara Swisher "let's just see how the debates go."
  • Musk discussed his dealings with Trump on Monday's episode of "Sway," Swisher's new podcast.
  • Musk said that Trump has been "as supportive as he can be" of electric cars, but that he recognizes how much support Republicans receive from the oil and gas industry.
  • When it comes to the election, Musk said he thinks Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will probably win if he does well during the debates.

Elon Musk says he's waiting to see how the upcoming presidential debates turn out before saying who he's voting for.

Musk discussed politics during Monday's episode of "Sway," a podcast hosted by The New York Times' Kara Swisher. Swisher asked him about President Donald Trump and Musk's dealings with the administration when it comes to fossil fuels and the environment.

"I have spoken to the president about sustainable energy many times and actually there are times when he's been supportive, but then, at the end of the day, he has got way more support from the oil and gas industry because it's way bigger. The electric car industry is small," Musk said.

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Musk said that he's been encouraged by a shift in the automotive industry toward electric vehicles, given that they're some of the largest employers in the world. In the past, he said, he's had to fight both the oil and gas industry as well as the broader car industry, he said.

When it comes to Tesla and electric cars, Trump has been "as supportive as he can be," Musk said, given the amount of support he has from oil and gas companies.


But Musk was less clear on who he plans to vote for in the upcoming presidential election. Here's the full exchange between Swisher and Musk:

Do you like [Trump]? Are you voting for him?

Um …. I, I mean, I'm … to be totally frank, I'm not … I mean, I think … let's just see how the debates go. You know?

That's going to be your thing? The debates?

Well, I think that's probably the thing that will decide things for America.


Why's that?

I think people just want to see … see … see if Biden's got it together.

And if he does?

If he does he probably wins.

Musk went on to describe his political views as "socially very liberal and then economically right of center, maybe, or center? I don't know. Obviously I'm not a communist."


Musk and Trump have been aligned on several issues in the past. Most recently, Trump attended the SpaceX and NASA astronaut launch and sided with Musk in his fight with California officials to reopen Tesla's factory amid the coronavirus crisis.

But Musk has also openly disagreed with Trump, particularly around the administration's recent suspension of H1-B visas for skilled workers and Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris climate accords in 2017, which caused Musk to leave Trump's advisory council.

While Musk hasn't said who he supports in upcoming election, he did publicly endorse Andrew Yang last year. Yang, a democratic candidate who dropped out of the race in February following disappointing results in the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary, proposed a universal basic income for Americans. Musk said last year that UBI is "obviously needed."

Musk doesn't appear to have supported Trump in 2016 — prior to the election, he said that Trump was "probably not the right guy" to lead the country because he "doesn't seem to have the sort of character that reflects well on the United States."