Will Trump Tesla Trouble Tension Build for the Next Four Years?
With no more Hillary Clinton to attract the majority of their ire, it seems that some Donald Trump supporters have now set their sights on Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) and CEO Elon Musk as the new focal points of their wrath.
The Trump Tesla feud (as I will be referring to it from here on in) is not so much coming from the president-elect himself, but rather from a mixture of Trump insiders, “alt-right” supporters, the fossil fuel industry, and green tech doubters.
The Trump Tesla feud boils down to a number of web sites and individuals bent on seeing Tesla fail through whatever means necessary.
That can mean the creation and propagation of fake news, web sites like Stop Elon From Failing Again, and even some people resorting to outright lies in order to try to harm Tesla, SpaceX, and Musk.
One person specifically, self-described “obsessive” Keith Leech, has spent more than a year collecting photos of crashed Teslas from junkyards that he claims show evidence of defective suspension systems. Leech then went to the site Tesla Bears Club, where he compiled his roughly 100 complaints that he’d filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) based on his photos.
This all culminated in the auto web site Daily Kanban reporting on the suspension complaints, which set off a chain reaction of other news organizations following suit. The stock dropped seven percent the day after these false allegations were spread. (Source: “Elon Musk vs. the Trolls,” Bloomberg, November 22, 2016.)
Where’s the Trump Tesla connection? Well, these attacks on Musk and his companies have intensified since the November 8 election.
Laura Ingraham, for instance, a right-wing radio host currently under consideration for the position of White House press secretary, heads the Citizens for the Republic political action committee, which backs the Stop Elon From Failing Again web site. (Source: “With Hillary Clinton out of the way, right-wing and fake news writers are going after Elon Musk instead,” Quartz, November 23, 2016.)
And this brings us to what may be our first glimpse into the brave new world of fake news and politically backed hit jobs. The Trump Tesla conflict may be one in a long line of feuds between green tech companies (or oppositional companies in general) and powers within, or adjacent to, the administration.
Musk, for his part, doesn’t seem too bothered:
Can anyone uncover who is really writing these fake pieces? Can’t be skankhunt42. His work is better than this. https://t.co/Qs69AFMGE5
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 22, 2016