Elon Musk said he wasn’t about to join Uber’s CEO in quitting President Trump’s economic advisory council, and he’s sticking to his guns in the wake of a meeting on Feb. 3. The Tesla founder claims that he managed to get the immigration ban discussed “first and foremost” on the meeting agenda where it wasn’t even going to be mentioned at all. He also notes that he “raised climate” once more. It’s not clear what the outcome of those talks was, but he maintains that his efforts are “doing good” and that it would be “wrong” to leave the council.
It’s hard to verify the claims without being privy to the content of council meetings (whose secrecy may be violating the law). However, GM’s Mary Barra tells TechCrunch that “environmental issues” did come up as part of the discussion. The question is: are any of these discussions making an impact? A judge’s temporary block on the immigration ban may have more of an immediate effect, and there are no signs that the White House will rethink attempts to suppress climate change science and prop up fossil fuels. Musk may put key issues on the table, but he can’t guarantee that Trump, Bannon and crew will change their minds.
As it stands, Musk faces the same risk that Uber’s chief did: staying on the council may pose a threat to his bottom line. Some Model 3 customers are cancelling their pre-orders in protest of Musk’s supposed friendliness to Trump. No matter how much Musk may believe in talking things out, he may have to quit if association with the President costs him both significant revenue and a tarnished brand image. Tesla can’t save the planet if people aren’t buying, after all.
In addition, I again raised climate. I believe this is doing good, so will remain on council & keep at it. Doing otherwise would be wrong.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 4, 2017