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President Biden returned fire in a sarcastic spat with billionaire Elon Musk on Friday.
During his televised press conference on the state of the U.S. economy, Biden was asked his thoughts on Musk’s pessimistic assessment of where things were headed. Biden dismissed Musk, wishing him “luck on his trip to the moon.”
The feud generated a buzz among media figures on Twitter.
On Thursday, news broke that the Tesla CEO had emailed company executives that he wants to cut 10% of the electric car company’s jobs and put in place a hiring freeze due to his fears about the state of the economy.
Musk didn’t mince words, telling the executives that he has a “super bad feeling” about the economy.
This isn’t the first Musk email this week that has turned heads. Earlier, he sent out an email to Tesla execs requiring them to make sure all employees were coming into the office for work. “Everyone at Tesla is required to spend a minimum of 40 hours in the office per week,” he wrote.
Biden was asked about Musk’s “super bad feeling” at his press conference and fired back with a few comments about how other major car companies making electric vehicles are investing in the economy.
“Well, let me tell you, while Elon Musk is talking about that, Ford is increasing their investment overwhelmingly. I think Ford is increasing investment in building new electric vehicles, 6,000 new employees, union employees, I might add, in the Midwest,” he stated, adding that “The former Chrysler Corporation, Stellantis, they are also making similar investments in electric vehicles. Intel is adding 20,000 new jobs, making computer chips.”
The president also made a dismissive quip to the world’s richest man, seeming to mock Musk’s business endeavors in space exploration. “So, you know, lots of luck on his trip to the Moon. I mean, I don’t — I mean, you know…” Biden concluded on the subject, trailing off.
Musk responded to Biden’s cheeky send off on Twitter, by sharing a NASA article reporting that Musk’s SpaceX company will be providing the rocket systems that the U.S. government’s space program will use to get men to the moon on its upcoming Artemis program.
Along with the post, he tweeted a sarcastic quip of his own, writing, “Thanks Mr President!”
Other Twitter users reacted to the spat. Some liberal accounts loved Biden’s response, whereas Musk supporters slammed Biden for not taking the businessman’s warning seriously.
Occupy Democrats’ account reveled in Biden’s quip, tweeting, “BREAKING: Joe Biden mocks GOP-supporting billionaire Elon Musk for saying he wants to fire 10% of Tesla employees because he has a ‘super bad feeling’ about the economy, jokingly wishes him ‘lots of luck on his trip to the moon.’ RT IF YOU LOVE WHEN BIDEN SHADES RIGHT-WINGERS!”
Reuters White House editor Heather Timmons tweeted her assessment that Biden’s Ford comments were the real insult to Musk. She wrote, “While Biden’s sarcastic moon comment is getting a lot of play, his Ford comparison is the real dig, implying Musk is a bad manager.”
The Washington Examiner’s Jerry Dunleavy bashed Biden’s comments, tweeting, “It isn’t Elon Musk’s trip to the Moon. It is America’s trip there. NASA picked SpaceX to help land astronauts on the lunar surface as part of NASA’s Artemis mission. U.S. astronauts are slated to return to the Moon in 2025! A cool thing that Biden shouldn’t be dismissive about!”
Space News senior writer Jeff Foust pointed out that the government that Biden runs is investing in Musk. He tweeted, “NASA is paying SpaceX $2.9 billion for that trip to the Moon…”
“FTW. [For the win]” tweeted MSNBC analyst David Corn, thinking Biden’s quip was excellent.
TechCrunch transportation editor Kirsten Korosec approved of Biden’s line, during the press conference, tweeting, “Biden stepping up his trolling game.”
“This is a genuinely funny line,” tweeted The Independent journalist Richard Hall about Biden’s comment.
Quartz senior reporter Tim Fernholz slammed Biden over the comment, tweeting, “lol Musk’s trip to the moon is the centerpiece of the Biden administration’s space policy. Good example of this administration’s lack of interest in NASA.”
Liberal journalist Ana Marie Cox actually went against Biden and his supporters on this one, tweeting, “The degree to which people are celebrating Biden’s dunk on Elon Musk just reminds me of the very low bar some Democrats have for their elected officials.”