Elon Musk originally supported Joe Biden and said he was excited for him to be president.
Since, Musk has taken several digs at the president after he excluded Tesla from some EV events.
The two men have been feuding for years, but there appeared to be a cease-fire of sorts earlier this month.
The second-richest man in the world was once a supporter of President Joe Biden, but over the past two years, Elon Musk’s relationship with the White House has turned sour.
The two men have continually traded jabs since Biden took office in 2021.
For the first time in a longtime, the two men appeared to see eye-to-eye earlier this month.
Biden praised Tesla after Musk committed to opening thousands of Tesla chargers to other brands. Previously, Tesla’s chargers — which account for a large portion of EV chargers in the US — had been primarily accessible only to Tesla owners.
While regular Tesla stations have always been open to non-Tesla EVs through a special adapter, the carmaker pledged to make its ultra-fast supercharging stations compatible with other electric cars by the end of 2024.
“In building our EV charging network, we have to ensure that as many chargers work for as many drivers as possible,” Biden tweeted on February 15. “To that end, @elonmusk will open a big part of @Tesla‘s network up to all drivers. That’s a big deal, and it’ll make a big difference.”
Musk replied that Tesla was happy to support the charging network.
The news came after The Washington Post reported that the White House had come to Musk for help with expanding EV charging infrastructure in the US.
The tweets are notable because they not only represent an instance of cooperation between the two men, but also because Biden has been loath to acknowledge Tesla’s role in the EV space in the past.
While Biden and Musk appear to agree on the importance of EV adoption, only a few months ago the billionaire was taking jabs at the president.
In December, Biden announced plans to build 500,000 EV charging stations across the US.
On Twitter, Musk responded to the president’s tweet: “Or you can just buy a Tesla.”
Insider previously reported that there are clear advantages to owning a Tesla when it comes to public charging, including accessibility, speed, and charging station amenities.
There wasn’t always this animosity way between the two men.
In May, Musk said he planned to vote Republican in the next presidential election, but the billionaire said he’s voted “overwhelmingly” for Democrats in the past.
Shortly after Biden was inaugurated, Musk told Fortune he was excited for the new president to take office and that he planned to work closely with the Biden Administration on efforts to address climate change.
“I’m super fired up that the new administration is focused on climate,” Musk said in January 2021. “I feel very optimistic about the future of sustainable energy with the new administration. Not that we should get complacent or anything, but the wind is at our back for solving the climate crisis with the new administration,” he added.
Still, Biden may not have been Musk’s first choice for a Democratic candidate. In December 2021, Musk said in a tweet directed at Senator Bernie Sanders that the US should set an age limit that would not allow people over 70 to run for office — a measure that would disqualify both Biden and former President Donald Trump.
Less than a month into Biden’s presidency, Musk began to express discontent with some of his choices.
In February 2021, Musk said the Biden Administration rejected his idea of a carbon tax as “too politically difficult.” The Tesla CEO made the comments during an interview on the “Joe Rogan Experience” podcast.
“I think the Biden administration should take a strong stance on the situation,” Musk said. “It’s like at least half the reason they got elected.”
Musk has been calling for a carbon tax since 2015, and has said he is more than willing for SpaceX to pay the tax for emissions during its spaceflights and tests in Boca Chica, Texas.
In August 2021, the feud between Musk and Biden truly began to take shape after the president failed to invite the CEO of the largest electric-car maker in the US to an EV summit at the White House.
Musk said on Twitter that it “seems odd Tesla wasn’t invited.”
Tesla has been responsible for the vast majority of electric-car sales in the US over the past four years. In contrast, automakers that were invited to the event like General Motors and Ford represent only a small portion of electric-car sales in the country.
At the time, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked during a press briefing whether Tesla was being excluded from the event because its employees were not part of an automotive union.
“I’ll let you draw your own conclusion,” she said.
Musk has repeatedly criticized some of the most significant parts of Biden’s political agenda.
Musk dissed Biden’s Build Back Better agenda in December 2021 and said that the administration should scrap the $2 trillion package altogether.
In particular, the CEO took issue with legislation that would authorize a tax credit of up to $12,500 for Americans if they bought an electric vehicle assembled by unionized workers. The bill would exclude Tesla altogether, while propping up companies in the United Auto Worker’s Union (UAW) like Ford and GM.
Musk was also critical of a tax plan from the Democratic Party that would target US billionaires. At the time, the legislation would have given the billionaire an annual tax bill of $10 billion.
“Eventually, they run out of other people’s money and then they come for you,” he wrote on Twitter in October 2021.
In January 2022, Musk had strong words for Biden, calling him a ‘damp sock puppet.’
The Tesla CEO spoke out after Biden once again met with executives from Ford and GM regarding EV adoption and failed to include Tesla.
“I meant it when I said the future was going to be made right here in America. Companies like GM and Ford are building more electric vehicles here at home than ever before,” Biden tweeted.
Musk first commented on the post calling for Biden to acknowledge Tesla.
“Starts with a T, Ends with an A, ESL in the middle,” he tweeted.
The Tesla CEO later responded: “Biden is a damp sock puppet in human form,” using the sock emoji.
It was one of several times that Biden and his administration appeared to exclude Tesla from discussions on electric vehicles.
Tesla fans have taken note of Biden’s lack of recognition for Tesla’s achievements.
Biden has taken several opportunities to praise GM and Ford for their foray into electric cars, but has had little to say about Tesla.
The president has also made appearances at GM and Ford factories, and taken test drives in their upcoming electric pickup trucks, but has been notably absent from Tesla’s massive Fremont Factory.
In February 2022, nearly 40,000 Tesla fans signed a petition on Change.org calling for Biden to acknowledge Tesla and its role as the leading electric-car maker in the nation.
“The White House and the Biden Administration have intentionally been trying to ignore Tesla’s hard work while propping up GM and others as ‘EV Leaders,'” the petition said. “This is an insult to the Americans who work for Tesla.”
The petition came after the president again met with executives from Ford and GM and publicly lauded them for “building more electric vehicles here at home than ever before.”
Musk’s mother has mocked Biden over his Tesla snubs.
Even Musk’s mother noticed Biden’s propensity for excluding Tesla. In 2021, Maye Musk mocked Biden for saying GM “electrified the entire automobile industry.”
“Biden’s speech was written 20 years ago, just before GM killed the electric car,” Maye Musk tweeted. “His speechwriter uploaded the wrong file.”
Biden briefly acknowledged Tesla last year, following pressure from Musk and his fans.
Eventually, Biden publicly acknowledged Tesla in February 2022. During a speech focused on boosting domestic electric-vehicle manufacturing, Biden spoke of Tesla’s influence on the industry and noted that Musk’s company is the “largest electric-vehicle manufacturer” in the US.
But, only a month later, Musk was again displeased after Biden didn’t mention Tesla in his State of the Union address after mentioning Ford and GM.
“Tesla has created over 50,000 US jobs building electric vehicles & is investing more than double GM + Ford combined,” Musk wrote on Twitter in response to a tweet about the speech from the president’s official account.
Much of the tension between Biden and Musk likely comes down to Musk’s response to unionization efforts at Tesla.
Biden’s tax incentives, as well as his statements on GM and Ford, have focused on their unionized workforce. Meanwhile, the Tesla CEO has taken an active stance against the UAW.
Last year, Musk taunted the union with an invitation to Tesla’s Fremont Factory, alongside a clip of former UAW members criticizing the union.
In 2017, some Tesla workers sought to unionize with the help of the UAW, but reportedly faced backlash. In 2021, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that Tesla and Musk “unlawfully threatened” workers hoping to unionize. The group said Tesla “interrogated” employees involved in the effort and ordered Musk to delete a tweet it deemed “anti-union.”
Biden has had little to say about SpaceX as well.
SpaceX has taken a large part in the nation’s efforts to return to the moon.
The president appeared to mock Musk’s fixation with outer space in response to a question regarding the billionaire’s comments about the US being in the midst of a recession.
In his response from June, the president highlighted Ford’s investment in electric cars and its union.
“While Elon Musk is talking about that, Ford is increasing their investment overwhelmingly,” Biden said regarding Musk’s pessimism. “Ford is increasing the investment in building new electric vehicles, 6,000 new employees — union employees, I might add — in the Midwest.”
Biden went on to add: “So, you know, lots of luck on his trip to the moon.”
Last year, the feud between the two men appeared to come to a head when Musk said he no longer plans to vote for the Democratic candidate in the upcoming presidential election.
“This administration has done everything it can to sideline & ignore Tesla,” Musk wrote on Twitter.
The tweet came while Musk was in the midst of purchasing Twitter.
“In the past I voted Democrat, because they were (mostly) the kindness party,” he added. “But they have become the party of division & hate, so I can no longer support them and will vote Republican. Now, watch their dirty tricks campaign against me unfold.”
Musk has been quick to criticize Trump as well. In May, he said a “less divisive” candidate than Trump would be better for the 2024 presidential run. In 2016, Musk was outraged over the Trump administration’s decision to exit the climate-focused Paris Agreement, though in 2018 the SpaceX CEO said he liked Trump’s idea for a Space Force military branch in outer space.
Biden is not the only person at whom Musk has taken digs.
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