Elon Musk: Tesla CEO doubles down on criticism of Donald Trump

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Elon Musk has some strong words for US Sen. Bernie Sanders He has certainly got Bernie Sanders’ number. In an interview with the BBC, billionaire Elon Musk mocked…

Elon Musk: Tesla CEO doubles down on criticism of Donald Trump

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Elon Musk has some strong words for US Sen. Bernie Sanders

He has certainly got Bernie Sanders’ number.

In an interview with the BBC, billionaire Elon Musk mocked the socialist senator’s recent call for Mr Musk to quit Tesla’s board and “stay out of politics”.

Mr Musk also compared Mr Sanders to Donald Trump and suggested he had a similar mindset.

Mr Musk’s comments come after a statement in which he said his views on climate change did not represent the company’s position.

A large section of his interview with Andrew Neil on Sunday also covered the Bank of England’s response to the sinking of the RMS Titanic.

Mr Musk made a string of questionable claims, at one point saying the bank had “broken” in a tweet and should raise interest rates to help make up for its supposed mistakes.

Anger over accusations

Furious accusations about Mr Musk’s conduct have followed since the billionaire tweeted his backing for a rescue mission for a badly-hit ship in the Mediterranean, suggesting that the government not only help with the rescue operation but also pay for it.

Footage from the rescue showed Mr Musk taking photographs of the ship and calling it “epic”.

An industry backlash followed, with Australian fishermen saying the billionaire was “disgusting and a tool of the Russian mafia”.

Mr Musk also questioned what would have happened if the rescue operation had not happened because “a dozen Russian engines were already cannibalised [fired out to] keep going, as a purely selfish act”.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption As part of his remarks he referred to Sen Sanders as “Austere B-O-R-I-N-G”

Mr Musk has been accused of using the situation to his own advantage by appearing to mock those who criticised him.

Asked if he had been offered compensation for his behaviour, Mr Musk replied: “Oh yeah, yeah, lots of money! I’d take it, yeah. A lot of money. So I wouldn’t be paid, I’d sell some Tesla stock and use that to make improvements on the company.”

Other signs he was unrepentant came from his extraordinary response to criticism that followed his critique of Saudi Arabia’s investment in Tesla.

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Its criticism followed comments by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund that it would be investing £19.2bn ($26bn) in the electric car company

The billionaire told investors to buy the shares in Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) that he had criticised, before blaming them for pushing the market value of Tesla to $100bn (£65bn).

In response to an investor asking for an apology for what he called the “irresponsible and ill-judged” attacks on the Saudi fund, Mr Musk replied: “I don’t need your apology. I don’t owe anyone a thing.”

Ms Chapple-Garvan says that since the 9 February, the BBC has received hundreds of written and verbal complaints about Mr Musk, some of which have been shared on social media.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Amid all the criticism, Mr Musk has been retweeting people who have taken sides

Mr Musk will be in Europe this week as he continues work on his Hyperloop, which combines elements of an underground transport system with the traditional air-borne vehicle known as a tube.

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