Musk Threatens to Dump Trump Over Paris Withdrawal

Tesla Inc (ticker: TSLA) CEO Elon Musk’s tenure on President Donald Trump’s advisory council may be short-lived. Roughly five months into Trump’s term, Musk is threatening to resign from his position on the advisory council if the president follows through with his pledge to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accords.

The 2015 Paris agreement is a global pact aimed at preventing global warming by reducing dependence on fossil fuels and facilitating the transition to renewable energy sources. Senior U.S. officials report that Trump intends to withdraw the U.S. from the agreement this week. Trump says on Twitter that he will make an announcement Thursday afternoon.

Musk has taken heat from Tesla investors and environmentalists alike ever since he accepted the role as presidential advisor in December. However, Musk seems to have finally had enough with Trump’s political agenda, tweeting that he “will have no choice but to depart” the council if Trump withdraws from the Paris agreement.

“Don’t know which way Paris will go, but I’ve done all I can to advise directly to POTUS, through others in WH & via councils, that we remain,” Musk tweeted Wednesday afternoon.

In April, Tesla investor and former attorney Doug Derwin launched a $2 million “Elon Dump Trump” media campaign to pressure Musk to cut ties with the administration.

Musk’s position on Trump’s council has given him an important direct line of communication with the president, Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas wrote in January.

“This strategic relationship between Tesla leadership and the new administration is an important development,” Jonas wrote.

Musk has previously defended his position as a Trump advisor.

“Activists should be pushing for more moderates to advise [the] president, not fewer. How could having only extremists advise him possibly be good?” Musk tweeted in February.

While Musk has ignored the critics up to this point, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick withdrew from Trump’s advisory council back in February. Protestors used the hashtag #DeleteUber on social media and threatened to stop using the Uber app if Kalanick continued to work with Trump.

Some Tesla customers have threatened to cancel their Model 3 orders if Musk doesn’t step down from the advisory council. At this point, however, Musk’s potential departure seems to be based strictly on principle rather than business considerations.

Musk’s ties to Trump certainly haven’t hurt…

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