Monday, January 30, 2023

Musk and Trump share similar fame and reckoning

Donald Trump and Elon Musk have enormous egos, a relentless desire for the spotlight, and a platform to display their eccentricities and erratic behavior.

Both the Tesla CEO and the former president have used that Twitter as a sword and shield: a platform to stir the passions (and callous pockets) of millions of followers and disapprove on the other side.

Trump weaponized Twitter before being banned from that social network following the January 6, 2021 attack on the United States Capitol. Musk posted consistently on Twitter, where he mocked stock market regulators and attacked their version of conformity in several tweets. Then he decided to buy the platform.

Now the two are at it this week with reckoning, driven in part by their use of Twitter to advance their interests and promote their outlandish ideals.

Trump faces a unanimous recommendation by a congressional panel on Monday for the Justice Department to face criminal prosecution for the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol by his supporters, prompted by his public comments on social media Action should be taken. that day.

Right after that, the potential release of Trump’s tax returns, now in the hands of another House panel, was expected on Tuesday, which he has fought for years to keep private.

After sacking nearly half of Twitter’s staff and wreaking havoc with impulsive and widely disparate policies, Musk essentially asked users if he should fire himself. In an unscientific poll conducted by him, a majority of the 17.5 million users who responded said he should resign as Twitter boss. It is not yet known whether he will fulfill as promised or not.

The tribulations faced by these two men, born on two different continents and 25 years apart in June, may be very different from anything they’ve come across.

“What they have most in common is that they have little experience with real failure, which means failure with consequences,” said Eric Degenhall, a consultant to troubled companies.

“Although Trump has failed many times, he has always been protected by the family’s money and amazing luck,” Dezenhall said. “Musk is a genius, but he has been fortunate enough to have built many businesses with government money instead of fighting it out on the free market,” he said.

“Given their life experiences, how could these people not feel invincible?”

Kindred spirits, at least in part, invited Trump back on Twitter shortly after Musk bought it. So far, Trump sticks to his own platform, Truth Social, which has a modest reach in comparison.

Kasturi’s invitation was a selective exercise of the right to free expression, as well as suspending the Twitter accounts of several well-known journalists and banning links to “prohibited” social media platforms such as Facebook, before somewhat softening on both fronts.

Musk was until recently the richest man in the world, his fortune verified by the value of his shares in the stock markets. Trump has often argued that he should also be considered among the richest, although that claim was only a mirage behind him.

Both have operated in the sense that things begin and end with the CEO’s decree, but Musk has created viable companies and real money, unlike Trump’s record of building his own brand, risky real estate deals and business deals. also constructed. Do it with your “university” of steak, vodka and even real estate investing.

Musk has 120 million followers on Twitter; Trump, a Republican, had $88 million before being booted from the stage following the January 6 attack. Over the years, the site has amplified the voices of both in a way that has benefited Musk’s businesses and Trump’s political career, albeit at the cost of their reputations.

“One hell of a hater,” Musk said on Twitter in 2017. But it was also a mermaid song for him.

“On Twitter, likes are extraordinary and criticism is brutal,” he tweeted in 2018. “Too extreme… it’s so cool.”

On that stage, Musk seems less like the visionary engineer who has made electric vehicles attractive, built reusable rockets, and cares deeply about climate change than a little personal reckoner. One who can get bogged down in far-right conspiracy theories and misogyny. ,

A month earlier, after Twitter taunted Trump for protesting, Musk agreed to let him back, with Musk rendering a woman stripped to the waist, with the Twitter logo covering her genitals. Gave up and Trump, like Jesus, was watching. “And don’t lead us into temptation,” Musk’s post read.

Both men have used Twitter to attack the mainstream media, spread misinformation, challenge the boundaries of what is acceptable on social media, and deliver taunts that can be hard to ignore.

But out of these two, only Trump had the right to the presidency. For all his spacefaring, Musk’s universe is very small: In a game of influencing public opinion, it is made up mostly of tweets and corporate policies on how to run his business.

Their political positions don’t match: Musk’s right-wing and libertarian beliefs include a devotion to controlling global warming, for example, and Trump’s do not. Their personalities also differ in some ways: Kasturi admits her mistake and sometimes apologises. Trump, no.

Their work ethic is also not similar to each other.

Trump, 76, from the New York borough of Queens, spends most of his time at his Mar-a-Lago vacation resort in Palm Beach, Florida, after a presidency notable for spending extensive time field golf.

Musk, a 51-year-old South African native who lived in Canada during his youth, is known for working long hours and having his hands full, most recently at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters.

But as destabilizers, they can also be twins separated at birth.

“They’re both freestylers,” says Dezenhall. “There’s no plan, no strategy, just a collection of tactics on the fly, something that worked so well for them … It won’t for the rest of us.”


Associated Press writers Barbara Ortute in San Francisco and Josh Bock in Baltimore contributed to this report.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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