Elon Musk revealed as one of the largest donors for a House Republican PAC

The tech entrepreneur gave a hefty check to a PAC dedicated to maintaining Republican control of Congress

Taylor Link
July 14, 2018 5:25pm (UTC)

Elon Musk has not had a great week.

First, one of the Thailand cave rescuers mocked his "involvement" in the mission to save the trapped soccer team.

Now reports indicate that Musk was one of the top donors for a Republican PAC named Protect the House.

Filings show that the Tesla and SpaceX CEO donated $33,900 to the PAC, which is dedicated to keeping Republicans in control of Congress. The PAC raised over $8 million in quarter two, according to filings compiled by ProPublica.

The top donors of the PAC include Sheldon Adelson, the Vegas casino magnate, and Robert McNair, the owner of the NFL's Houston Texans. Although Adelson and McNair's contributions far outweighed Musk's — Adelson and McNair each gave $371,500 respectively, while Musk gave $33,900 — Musk was one of the top 50 donors of the PAC.

Musk's contributions were startling considering his politics. Musk is a self-proclaimed socialist who says he started his automobile company, in part, to combat climate change. He's been an outspoken critic of climate-change deniers.

“Climate change is the biggest threat that humanity faces this century, except for AI,” Musk said in an interview with Rolling Stone late last year. “I keep telling people this. I hate to be Cassandra here, but it’s all fun and games until somebody loses a fucking eye. This view [of climate change] is shared by almost everyone who’s not crazy in the scientific community.”

That Musk believes this yet insists on helping the Republican Party win elections does not compute with reality. Some of the most influential climate-change deniers are members of the GOP; not to mention that the Trump administration's policies have curbed Obama-era efforts to fight global warming.

Musk himself has acknowledged the harm President Donald Trump and his party has done to the environment. Shortly after Trump pulled the U.S. out of the historic Paris climate agreement, Musk announced that he would quit two of the White House's business advisory councils.

"Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world," Musk said on Twitter at the time.

One year later, the tech entrepreneur has taken active measures to help the Republican Party maintain Congress. The reports on Musk's political contributions is just another data point marking Musk's nonsense.

The other latest example was Musk's voluntary involvement in the Thailand cave rescue. He insisted that a mini-sub invented by Space X could assist in the mission and even flew out to Thailand to share the contraption. In the end, the rescue team did not use the submarine because it was "not practical with our mission," according to one of the Thai leaders.

Musk rebutted this assertion on Twitter.

“The former Thai provincial governor (described inaccurately as “rescue chief”) is not the subject matter expert,” Musk tweeted. “That would be Dick Stanton, who co-led the dive rescue team.”

One of the rescue leaders, Vern Unsworth, ridiculed Musk in a video interview released on Friday.

"It just had absolutely no chance of working. He had no conception of what the cave passage was like . . . It wouldn't have made it the first fifty meters in the cave. It was just a PR stunt," the rescuer said. "He can stick his submarine where it hurts."

Musk's feud with the cave rescuers resembles the Twitter debate he engaged in after proclaiming he was a socialist. Musk trolled some socialists by explaining his view of socialism, which remarkably sounded a lot like capitalism.

While socialism is a political philosophy that has many interpretations, most American socialists define it as a system where the government engages in wealth redistribution. Musk clearly does not share this point of view, so for him to refer to himself as a socialist appears to be another troll attempt from one of Twitter's most persistent trolls. (Musk just last week tried to say that "billionaire" has become a derogatory term.)

Musk's donations to the GOP may have catapulted him to all-world troll status.

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Taylor Link

Taylor Link is an assistant editor at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @taylorlink_

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