© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: SpaceX Chief Engineer Elon Musk gestures during a joint news conference with T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert at SpaceX Starbase, in Brownsville, Texas, U.S., August 25, 2022. REUTERS/Adrees Latif/ File Photo
By Susan Heavey and Rami Ayyub
(Reuters) – Elon Musk, the world’s richest man, on Monday urged Americans to vote Republican in Tuesday’s US midterm elections, throwing his weight behind his rivals. Democratic President Joe Biden just days after Musk took control Twitter Inc (NYSE:).
Musk, who is also the CEO of Tesla (NASDAQ:), has faced criticism from some groups that believe his tyrannical stance on free speech will fuel disinformation on Twitter. . Some advertisers have withdrawn from the platform, while Musk blamed critics’ concerns about content moderation.
His tweet with more than 110 million followers on Monday represented the first time the head of a major social media platform explicitly endorsed a US political party, ahead of an election that Democrats are ready for potential losses.
Musk directed his Twitter message to what he called “independent voters,” writing: “Shared power limits the worst of both parties’ excesses, therefore I recommend should vote for a Republican Congress, claiming that the presidency is a Democrat.”
“Hard Democrats or Republicans never vote for the other side, so it’s the independent voters who really decide who’s in charge!” Musk added on Twitter, which he bought at the end of last month.
There was no immediate comment from Biden or his Democrats, who together face an uphill battle to retain control of both houses of Congress in Tuesday’s vote.
In a statement to Reuters, Jessica Gonzalez, co-executive director of Free Press, an advocacy group for media issues in democracy, said Musk’s comments showed he was “not presenting himself as a Good CEO that advertisers can trust.”
Nonpartisan election forecasters and opinion polls show Republicans have a very good chance of winning a majority in the House, with control of the Senate likely to be more closely contested. .
Musk, who frequently comments on US politics, has previously said he would vote Republican but he supports censorship by both major political parties.
He said he was leaning toward backing Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis for president in 2024 and that former president Donald Trump, who sources said is likely to launch an executive Another White House in the coming days, too old to be president again.
During Musk’s first week at Twitter, the company laid off half of its employees and marked a drop in ad revenue. But the company’s head of safety and integrity said the platform’s ability to moderate content remains intact.
Musk has been vocal in criticizing the Biden administration and Democrats for its proposal to tax billionaires and give more tax incentives to union-made electric cars. Tesla does not have a union at its factories in the US.
Last year, Tesla, which sees California as America’s largest market, moved its headquarters from California to the more conservative state of Texas. Musk also moved his personal residence from California to Texas, where there is no state income tax.
In April, Musk said on Twitter that he believes the platform “to be worthy of public trust, it must be politically neutral, which means upsetting the far right and the far left.” equally.” (This story has been corrected to show that Musk’s comments about Twitter’s political neutrality were made in April, not August, in the last paragraph)