Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and President Donald Trump do not share good vibes when it comes to climate change. But that did not stop Musk from voicing his support for retired Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, Trump’s chosen secretary of state.
Tesla CEO supports Trump’s selection
On Tuesday, businessman and innovator Musk spoke in favor of Tillerson, admitting that his support does come as a surprise. The Economist recently wrote about Tillerson’s possible major role in Trump’s cabinet.
In response to that post, Musk tweeted, “This may sound surprising coming from me, but I agree with The Economist. Rex Tillerson has the potential to be an excellent Sec of State.”
Musk then explained why he supports Tillerson, According to the Tesla CEO, Tillerson is “exceptionally competent,” has a very good understanding of geopolitics, and “knows how to win for his team.” Musk then asked everyone to offer their support and give Tillerson the benefit of the doubt before they judge him on his actions when he assumes the role.
Could this just be political support?
It was under Tillerson that Exxon Mobil denied the existence of global warming and shifted away from its scorched-earth disinformation campaign. During his confirmation hearing this month, Tillerson said he is a firm believer of the risks from climate change. However, he rejected the overwhelming scientific consensus that emissions from burning fossil fuels are the chief cause, notes the Huffington Post.
Tesla’s CEO is among the strongest advocates for climate science, and his companies depend on it. Musk was successful at getting shareholders‘ approval to Tesla’s merger with SolarCity. The former is known for its luxury electric vehicles, while the other is a solar energy firm. Musk sees the combined company as a one-stop shop for zero-emissions vehicles, heating systems and home electricity.
The difference in their opinion with regards to climate change and the underlying causes indicates that the support Musk is offering to Tillerson could be more political than personal, according to the Huffington Post.
Musk met with Trump on Monday to discuss the future of U.S. manufacturing, of which Tesla wants to be a crucial part. Musk was a part of the December sit-down meeting with Trump and is also on Trump’s Strategic and Policy forum, which is comprised of 18 members.