NEW YORK — Elon Musk has gotten flak for his decision to join President Trump’s economic advisory council. But he says it’s better to be on the inside and that he is “doing good” by advising Trump.
Musk said via Twitter on Saturday — one day after the council met with Trump in Washington — that he’s committed to pushing Trump on issues like immigration and climate change.
Musk is one of 18 business leaders on the council. Some have faced backlash, including boycott threats, from anti-Trump activists.
A Twitter user wrote to Musk: “Your continued defense of and collaboration with this administration is going to be damaging to you and your companies.”
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick was council member who got an earful, and on Thursday dropped out. Kalanick said he didn’t want his position to be “misinterpreted” as an endorsement of Trump’s agenda.
Meanwhile, Musk insists he’s making progress.
“At my request, the agenda for yesterday’s White House meeting went from not mentioning the travel ban to having it be first and foremost,” Musk said, referring to Trump’s travel ban against seven Muslim-majority nations. “There has already been and there will be progress on this matter.”
Musk — who has publicly opposed the travel ban — added that he wants the travel ban to be “addressed on all fronts: judicial, legislative and executive,” indicating that he thinks a federal judge’s intervention isn’t enough.
Asking for the executive branch to address his concerns is a long shot. Trump has already publicly condemned the judge’s decision, saying it’s “ridiculous and will be overturned.”
Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, has one other important issue on his agenda with Trump: climate change. He said Saturday that he raised the issue with the president.
“I believe this is doing good, so will remain on council & keep at it. Doing otherwise would be wrong,” Musk tweeted.
Trump has consistently downplayed the impact human’s have made on the Earth’s climate, and several moves he’s made since taking office — like promising to roll back environmental regulations — have angered climate activists.
Musk is one of the most prominent players in the clean energy field.
Tesla makes emissions-free vehicles and produces large batteries that theoretically will allow green energy technologies to hook up to power grids. It’s also working to acquire SolarCity, a solar energy company that Musk has helped fund. Both firms have business models that rely heavily on government subsidies for buyers.
The tech executive’s foray into the political sphere has proved uncomfortable for Musk. “[I] really don’t want to get in politics. I just want to help invent and develop technologies that improve lives. Feels so bizarre,” he said Saturday.