June 16, 2024

Elon Musk has been talking with Donald Trump “several times a month,” about a wide range of topics, according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal. And while Musk has denied rumors that he might donate money to the former president, the new reporting indicates Musk is working behind the scenes to make sure his businesses benefit if Trump is elected again in November.

Musk’s friendly rapport with Trump is notable given the fact that the billionaire tech titan said as recently as 2022 that Trump should “sail into the sunset.” But a lot has changed over the past two years, including Musk’s increasingly bizarre obsession with illegal immigration, the issue that first made Trump a serious contender in the Republican Party back in 2015.

From the Journal:

The pair have held discussions on immigration, technology and science, including the U.S. Space Force. Their views and interests have grown more aligned, the people said, with Musk calling Trump directly on his cellphone.

Recent talks between the two men have also involved Musk’s companies, including SpaceX, Tesla, and X, according to the Journal. And that makes sense when you remember how dependent Musk’s companies have been on government funding. SpaceX has massive contracts with military and intelligence agencies, and Tesla has benefited greatly from EV tax credits.

The new reporting notes Musk and Trump have discussed EV credits and the electric vehicle industry more broadly, citing people close to Trump, which is curious if only because the former president has recently said he wants to stop all EV sales in the U.S.

Musk has also asked Trump to return to X, a platform Trump was banned from in the days after the attempted coup of January 6, 2021. That was an era before Musk owned the social media platform, of course, but it makes sense that Trump would be cautious about rejoining a platform he doesn’t control. Trump lost his megaphone after the insurrection, and the former president seems determined not to lose his voice if things get violent again.

Trump is also making money hand-over-fist with Truth Social, the platform he founded to ensure nobody can silence him. Trump Media and Technology Group, which owns Truth Social, lost about $300 million last quarter, according to the Associated Press.

Musk has previously said he used to be a Democrat, claiming he voted for a Republican for the first time in 2022. But whatever Musk’s political history he seems to be all-in on Trumpism. And while Musk may not be personally donating money to Trump’s campaign, he’s working to get the man elected by lobbying powerful people to help Trump retake the White House.

Musk even teamed up with billionaire investor Nelson Peltz to work on some kind of “data-driven” project to fight against supposed election fraud. The issue is near and dear to Trump’s heart since the former president falsely claims he actually won the 2020 election. However, details surrounding the voting project seem to be sparse.

From the Journal:

Musk and Peltz have told acquaintances they are working on a massive data-driven project to ensure votes are fairly counted, echoing Trump’s accusations of widespread fraud in the 2020 election. Trump’s own attorney general, Bill Barr, has rejected those claims about the 2020 election. Trump’s campaign and its allies lost dozens of lawsuits challenging the results.

Musk and Peltz described the initiative to Trump in the March meeting, according to a person familiar with that discussion. More details about the antifraud effort couldn’t be learned.

All we know for certain is that Musk is fully on board the Trump train. And if Trump wins in November—which is a very distinct possibility the way the national polls look—Musk could have an important role to play in steering the country.

A version of this article originally appeared on Gizmodo.

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