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Elon Musk Clarifies Reason Behind President Joe Biden Is ‘Still Sleeping’ Comment

Elon Musk has expressed his frustration with the current US administration on multiple occasions. Musk's frustration has grown so much to the point of name-calling the president. Musk now elaborates the reason behind his most infamous comment.

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The Democratic party taking over both the executive and legislative branches of the federal government in the 2020 US election was seen by many analysts following Tesla as an advantage for the EV maker.

The thinking went, the new Biden administration will enact stronger emissions standards and will remove the 200,000 vehicle cap put on the Federal EV incentive - both actions that would undoubtedly help Tesla in the company’s stated goal of transitioning the world to sustainable energy.

However, despite the Biden administration showing a willingness to move on both issues, relations between the White House and Tesla CEO have gotten off on the wrong foot.

Elon Musk’s frustration with the Biden administration began when details of a new EV incentive bill, making its way through the legislative process, were revealed.

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The bill looks to remove the 200,000 vehicle limit from the current federal EV incentive. Since Tesla has already sold 200,000 EVs in the US, the EV maker’s customers no longer qualify for the $7,500 federal tax rebate.

Also included in the bill are provisions to increase the total amount of the EV incentive to $12,500 and to give prospective EV buyers the grant at the point of sale, as opposed to how it is now where EV buyers get the incentive in the form of tax returns.

On the surface, it would seem Elon Musk will be thrilled with the new bill. However, the new rules are not without their caveats. And the Tesla CEO believes the caveats were tailor-made by legacy auto and their unions to protect their self-interests.

Two of the caveats Musk took particular issue with are, first, $4,500 from the total $12,500 incentive has been reserved to EVs built-in unionized factories and second $500 is reserved for EVs using battery packs with 50% of components made in the US.

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Musk believes the proportion of the incentive reserved for EVs made in unionized factories should be decreased and, the $500 reserved for US-built EVs should be increased.

At the time the details came out, Musk criticized the bill saying “it was written by Ford/UAW [United Auto Workers union] lobbyists, as they make their electric cars in Mexico.” Musk added the new rule does not serve the US taxpayer.

However, the deterioration of relations between the White House and Elon Musk did not stop there. Elon Musk’s other company SpaceX on September 15 sent 4 civilian astronauts into orbit. The mission named Inspiration 4 marks the furthest humanity has traveled from earth since the end of the Apollo Moon missions back in 1972.

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Despite the mission’s historic achievements, and all four crew members being US citizens, President Biden chose to not even acknowledge the launch was going on.

Musk at the moment seemed particularly irked by the Presidents silence and in response to a Twitter post asking why Joe Biden has refused to acknowledge “the 4 newest American astronauts who helped raise hundreds of millions of dollars for St. Jude hospital” Musk answered with the now infamous tweet saying “he’s still sleeping”.

After his comments, Musk chose to largely ignore the issue. However, in his latest appearance at CodeCon with Kara Swisher, Musk further elaborated why he chose to make those comments.

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Asked by Kara to explain the “Biden tweet” Musk said, “Biden held this EV summit, didn’t invite Tesla but, invited GM, Ford, Chrysler, and UAW”. Musk then repeated “EV summit” with more emphasis.

Musk continued saying “[Biden] didn’t mention Tesla once and praised GM and Ford for leading the EV revolution,” Musk then asked a rhetorical question saying “does this sound a little biased or something?” continuing Musk added, “it’s not the friendliest administration, seems to be controlled by unions.”

Even though Elon’s tweet was a response to the president refusing to acknowledge the Inspiration 4 mission, Musk’s real issue with the president seems to be Joe Biden’s favoritism for the Detroit automakers while largely ignoring Tesla.

As of now, neither the President by himself nor the White House has addressed Musk’s criticism. We will be sure to keep you posted if we get more information regarding the issue. Make sure to visit our site regularly for the latest updates.

Why do you think President Joe Biden is refusing to acknowledge Tesla’s contribution to the EV world? Also, do you think Elon Musk’s response was appropriate? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

For more information check out: Elon Musk Thanks Tesla Employees For The ‘Most Hardcore Delivery Push’ In A Leaked Internal Memo Also, see New CyberTruck Prototype Spotted!

Tinsae Aregay has been following Tesla and The evolution of the EV space on a daily basis for several years. He covers everything about Tesla from the cars to Elon Musk, the energy business, and autonomy. Follow Tinsae on Twitter at @TinsaeAregay for daily Tesla news.

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DeanMcManis (not verified)    October 4, 2021 - 2:58PM

I have been encouraged by Biden's administration in their larger goals of supporting EVs in the U.S. But it was an inexcusable insult to not recognize Tesla, or their pioneering efforts to keep the U.S. competitive, as the U.S. was falling behind Europe and Asia with EV progress. Tesla will still thrive, despite not being supported by the American government, but it is disappointing to see lobbyists serving their own interests, and the president just falling in line. Admittedly, legacy automakers need to biggest push, because they have long supported short term profits (gas trucks/suvs) over long term world-supporting goals.