Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Telsla's Elon Musk Thinks Trump is Bad for Business

Elon Musk is arguably the greatest sustainability focused business builder on the planet and he thinks Donald Trump is on the wrong track. The contrast between Musk and Trump could not be more stark. Musk is a sustainability titan, and an innovator. while Trump is a dated caricature of a businessman. Shortly after winning the US presidential election in November 2016 Trump tapped Musk to be his strategic policy advisor. Five months later Musk quit the president after the latter pulled the US out of the Paris Climate Accord.

Musk sees the big picture where Trump does not appear to see beyond his self interest. Business leaders like Musk are abandoning Trump because they cannot afford to be myopic they must look beyond spurious political cycles to the trends that will endure.


Musk understands the urgency of climate action and he knows that this represents both a Hurculean challenge and a tremendous opportunity. A wide range of business leaders share Musk's view and strongly disagreed with Trump's decision to exit Paris. Musk tweeted: "Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world."

Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum was crafted with the laudable goal of shaping government policy to support business and provide jobs. However, Musk and other business leaders have rejected the proposed logic of Trump's policy decisions saying they believe he is hurting not helping US competitiveness. Far from being an asset to businesses the volatility of this administration has made Trump a liability and a risk factor.

Musk said he tried to make the case for sustainability in each meeting of the forum. However, he also said there was "no way" he could have stayed on in the White House after the Paris exit. The rift should come as no surprise. Musk subscribes to a world view informed by science and as such he is diametrically opposed to Trump's positions on both climate and fossil fuels.

Trump's policy positions particularly his support for fossil fuels makes little sense in the context of the surge in increasingly competitive forms of clean energy.

Musk is not the only one who strongly disasgrees with this administration's take on business. Many business leaders are outraged that the Trump administration is trying to prevent American businesses from taking advantage of the $19 trillion dollar opportunity in the cleantech sector.

Trump thinks of himself as a very successful businessman, however, the trail of lawsuits and bankruptcies he has left behind make it hard to corroborate his grandiose self-appraisal. Trump's litany of lies, bellicose statements and exagerated claims make him far less than credible.

To illustrate consider the obfuscation around the issue of his net worth. Trump has consistently exaggerated, in 1998 he said he was worth 700 million, however independent sources suggest that he was $20 million in the hole at the time. More recently Trump has claimed he is worth $10 billion but Forbes said he was worth just over $3 billion. According to one report, he owes $1.8 billion which is more than half of his worth. Others say his debt load is far higher and some have suggested that much of that money is owed to Russian oligarchs.

Trump regularly puts his self-interest ahead of the national interest. It has been reported that since becoming president he has leveraged his position to grow his personal wealth in places like China.

Trump's business record and lack of achievements as president suggest that he is little more than a corrupt media whore who has devolved into a high-risk circus act.

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