The US authorities received’t stop Elon Musk

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Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, arrives for a Senate discussion board on synthetic intelligence on September 13, 2023.

A model of this story appeared in CNN’s What Issues publication. To get it in your inbox, join free right here.


Condemning Elon Musk is straightforward. Quitting him could be very laborious, particularly for the US authorities, which is caught in a needy relationship with the billionaire who went from endorsing crackpot conspiracy theories to endorsing antisemitic tropes.

NASA wants his rockets. The Pentagon wants his satellites. The federal government wants for electrical autos to entry his community of chargers. Officers want his social media platform – Twitter, now referred to as X – to speak with folks.

On Friday, the White Home joined the uproar over Musk’s endorsement of an antisemitic conspiracy concept on X. “We condemn this abhorrent promotion of Antisemitic and racist hate within the strongest phrases, which runs towards our core values as People,” spokesman Andrew Bates stated Friday. If you wish to learn your complete assertion, Bates posted it on X.

The assertion is consistent with the uproar over Musk’s forwarding of the antisemitic trope. Numerous corporations, together with CNN’s mother or father firm Warner Bros. Discovery, have stated they’ll droop promoting on X.

There have been requires Musk to be suspended from the publicly traded firm, which he purchased for $44 billion final 12 months after which gutted of its safeguards towards misinformation and hate speech.

On Monday, the White Home introduced it might be becoming a member of X rival Threads, which is owned by Meta, as backlash to Musk intensifies.

The New York Occasions well factors out that whereas the views Musk shared are abhorrent to the White Home, the federal government’s nationwide safety equipment and area applications are basically “addicted” to Musk’s SpaceX.

“Not often has the U.S. authorities so trusted the know-how offered by a single, if petulant, technologist with views that it has so publicly declared repugnant,” wrote David Sanger and Eric Lipton. “And but, by the account of administration officers, they haven’t any alternative — and won’t for some time. As a result of there are, proper now, few viable alternate options.”

John Kirby, the Nationwide Safety Council coordinator for strategic communications, acknowledged the significance of what SpaceX provides when he was requested concerning the authorities’s reliance on Musk throughout a White Home press briefing on Monday.

“There’s innovation on the market within the personal sector that we’d be silly to stroll away from,” Kirby stated, including there aren’t any plans “to deal with our issues over his rhetoric by the best way that his corporations present assist to our nationwide safety institution.”

After which Kirby added: “However that doesn’t imply that we settle for or agree with or condone in any manner that antisemitic rhetoric that he pushed.”

The Occasions reporters argued there is no such thing as a various firm NASA might flip to for the rockets SpaceX launches.

The Pentagon only recently agreed to a cope with SpaceX to pay $70 million for Starshield, a communication system based mostly on the Starlink system of 1000’s of satellites. Ukraine’s navy is totally reliant on Starlink for web and battlefield communications.

Musk confronted backlash a 12 months in the past when he had complained about the price of that service. In June, the Pentagon introduced it might pay for Starlink in Ukraine.

In an announcement on Monday to CNN’s Kristin Fisher about Musk and the Pentagon’s reliance on his corporations, a protection official stated merely, “The division condemns all types of antisemitism.”

01:26 – Supply: CNN

See second SpaceX launched world’s strongest rocket.

The federal government has paid SpaceX many billions of {dollars} over time, however how a lot it’s paying for Starlink in Ukraine, as one particular instance, just isn’t clear.

Pentagon spokesman Gen. Pat Ryder instructed reporters again in September that the navy has been clear in that it acknowledges it pays Starlink for companies in Ukraine, however “for operations safety causes as a result of important nature of those techniques, we’re simply not going to have the ability to present further data concerning the precise capabilities or the operational particulars of those companies.”

Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin is definitely in Ukraine assembly with officers there about US help to the nation. He’s been posting pictures and statements about the trip on X.

CNN’s Chris Isidore has written about how a lot of Musk’s personal fortune has benefited from enterprise with the federal government, definitely by SpaceX, which was as soon as saved by a mortgage from NASA.

Tesla, Musk’s electrical automobile firm, was sponsored by taxpayers in a number of methods, together with with loans and tax credit to encourage folks to purchase electrical autos. A lot of its income comes from promoting regulatory carbon credit to different automobile corporations to allow them to be in compliance with emissions guidelines in some states.

Tesla’s nationwide charging infrastructure is a crucial a part of the nationwide infrastructure for electrical autos. The White Home bragged early this 12 months that after months of negotiations, Tesla would open up a part of its charging community to non-Tesla EVs.

All of it implies that whereas Musk’s phrases are rightly being condemned and corporations are making the purpose of suspending promoting on X, he’s very a lot woven into the material of the nation.


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