With his attempt to un-buy Twitter not going to trial until October, Elon Musk has spent the interlude wading even further into politics and the Republican camp by appearing at a GOP donor retreat this week in Wyoming hosted by House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).
The Tesla (TSLA) CEO reportedly participated in a “fireside chat” with McCarthy on Tuesday night before the Trump-aligned audience. The gathering was notable for taking place the same day and in the same state that Republican primary voters ended Liz Cheney’s tenure in Congress over her criticisms of Donald Trump.
But at the same time, in a tweet that was apparently sent from the Republican event, Musk also again claimed to be a moderate without allegiance to either political party.
To be clear, I support the left half of the Republican Party and the right half of the Democratic Party!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 16, 2022
While Musk has a long history of supporting both political parties — allying himself over the years with a dizzying array of figures from George W. Bush to Barack Obama to Margaret Thatcher to Kanye West — nearly all recent public evidence points toward him becoming more and more of a Republican.
‘This election I will’ vote Republican
Musk said directly in May that “this election I will” vote Republican largely because he says Democrats are “overly controlled by the unions and by the trial lawyers,” during an interview where he also criticized Republicans. Musk also went after Joe Biden, saying the current president is more beholden to the left-wing forces in his party compared to Barack Obama, whom Musk supported in the past.
Likewise, Musk has donated exclusively to Republicans since 2021 according to the Federal Election Commission records. His recently giving (which is very modest) is in contrast to his donations in 2020 which were tilted toward Republicans but with a few Democratic names sprinkled in.
Musk’s Twitter feed in recent weeks has also featured political messages firmly in line with the GOP.
He recently posted a meme that echoed misleading claims that the Inflation Reduction Act will lead to 87,000 new IRS agents. Fact checkers have repeatedly pushed back against that GOP talking point, noting that the bill doesn't specify that 87,000 new IRS agents are coming. In fact, much of the $80 billion in the bill set aside for the IRS is set to go toward replacing retiring staff and upgrades to catch tax cheats.
Representatives of Musk didn't respond to requests from Yahoo Finance for evidence to back up the CEO's claims of bipartisanship. He also reportedly didn't declare himself a Republican or pledge new money at this week's GOP event, while also saying that the party needs to be more open and compassionate to immigrants like himself.
Musk & Trump
Musk meanwhile has had a rocky relationship in recent months with the current leader of the GOP, Donald Trump. Musk asked the former president to “hang up his hat & sail into the sunset” after Trump called him “another bullsh*t artist” during a back and forth over his possible purchase of Twitter.
But Musk's ongoing fight with Twitter (TWTR) has also put Musk in good stead with many Trump allies, because of his criticisms of the social media company's free speech policies and his suggestion that he might let Trump reinstate his account if the deal goes through.
And Musk was apparently a hit before with the audience of Trump loyalists in Wyoming.
“Bucket list #selfie” wrote Morgan Ortagus in a tweet and photo apparently taken at the event. Ortagus was a spokesperson for the State Department during the Trump administration and received an endorsement from Trump earlier this year for an ultimately short-lived run for Congress.
— Morgan Ortagus (@MorganOrtagus) August 17, 2022
Going forward, Musk has mused about creating a “Super Moderate Super PAC” but has taken no public steps to do so. Notably, he floated that idea on the same Twitter thread where he also said he was leaning toward a candidate in 2024 who is not considered by many to be a super moderate: Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL).
Ben Werschkul is a Washington correspondent for Yahoo Finance.