Stocks

Elon Musk says he prefers to ‘stay out of politics’ after Texas governor cites his support

Elon Musk said Thursday he “would prefer to stay out of politics” after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott cited Musk’s support as he defended the state’s restrictive new anti-abortion law.

In an interview with CNBC, Abbott said there are many companies that find Texas appealing, and that a new bill limiting voting access and the near-ban on abortion are unlikely to derail the state’s economic growth.

Read more: Texas abortion law: Women will have to travel 496 miles on average round trip to get an abortion out-of-state

“You need to understand that there’s a lot of businesses and a lot of Americans who like the social positions that the state of Texas is taking,” Abbott said. “This is not slowing down businesses coming to the state of Texas at all. In fact it is accelerating the process of businesses coming to Texas.”

Abbott cited Musk — whose companies, Tesla Inc.
TSLA,
-0.23%

and SpaceX, have Texas facilities — as an example.

“Elon had to get out of California because, in part, of the social policies in California,” he said. Abbott said he speaks with Musk “frequently,” and “Elon consistently tells me that he likes the social policies in the state of Texas.”

In a tweet about two hours after that interview, Musk tried to avoid controversy.

“In general, I believe government should rarely impose its will upon the people, and, when doing so, should aspire to maximize their cumulative happiness,” Musk tweeted. “That said, I would prefer to stay out of politics.”

Tesla is building a plant near Austin, and last year threatened to move its headquarters from California to Texas. SpaceX has launch and testing facilities in Texas, though it, too, is headquartered in California. Musk himself moved to Texas last year.

Last year, Musk engaged in a high-profile dispute with California health regulators over COVID-19 restrictions and defied rules in reopening Tesla’s Fremont, Calif., plant, daring local authorities to arrest him. Alameda County, where Fremont is located, eventually agreed to a deal with Tesla, allowing it to reopen.

In 2020, Musk made campaign donations of $2,800 each to four Democrats and three Republicans, according to OpenSecrets.org, including Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del.

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