Elon Musk sure seems to be following Donald Trump's playbook

Elon Musk and Donald Trump
Elon Musk and Donald Trump.Lisa O'Connor/AFP/Getty Images and AP Photo/Chris Carlson
  • Elon Musk appears to be emulating Donald Trump's playbook.

  • The Tesla CEO also seems to be immune to scandals in a similar way to the former president.

  • Supporters of both Musk and Trump appear willing to overlook their sometimes questionable behavior.

Elon Musk seems to be taking a page out of Donald Trump's playbook.

The Tesla CEO once took a jab at the former president for being too old to run again for the White House, essentially suggesting he sail off into the sunset.

But now it appears Musk is looking to Trump more and more as an example of how to play the public relations game — from the way he prematurely declares victory, to the feuds he starts and the scandals he navigates.

The approach might be serving him well.


Take, for instance, the almost Trumplike way in which Musk, with no attribution, prematurely declared victory in securing his mammoth pay package many hours ahead of an official announcement from Tesla.

Musk decided to celebrate early on X, declaring that the vote was passing by "wide margins." If that is the case, it definitely is a win for the Tesla CEO.

Headaches ahead

Trump is of course now a convicted felon who still faces a brimming docket of pending court cases. Yet Musk also faces some headaches of his own.

Eight former SpaceX employees have filed a lawsuit against him, alleging they were wrongfully fired for speaking out against a hostile work environment in 2022.

Then there are new claims by The Wall Street Journal that Musk blurs lines with the women who work for him. That story also included a claim that Musk asked a SpaceX employee to have his babies, before denying her a promotion when she refused.

Immune to scandal

Musk also seems to be immune to scandals in a similar way to Trump.

Both have the backing of some prominent Silicon Valley figures. Reuters reported that tech venture capitalists David Sacks and Chamath Palihapitiya hosted a fundraiser in San Francisco earlier this month for the Republican presidential candidate.

And where Musk is concerned, no matter how salacious the scandals he can always rely on the support of his many fans on X.

Following Trump's playbook doesn't appear to have hurt his payday ambitions at all. If Musk has won shareholder approval, they've apparently overlooked some Trumpy tendencies — like feuding with plenty of his tech peers.

Zuck feud

One of Musk's long-running battles has been a near eight-year feud with Mark Zuckerberg that saw him challenge the Meta CEO to a cage fight.

Most recently, Musk filed a lawsuit against OpenAI and CEO Sam Altman, accusing the ChatGPT maker of violating its nonprofit mission by partnering with Microsoft — although that lawsuit was dropped on Tuesday for unknown reasons.

There's also the drug use. Musk admitted in his March interview with Don Lemon that he takes a "small amount" of ketamine every other week. When Lemon questioned him further, Musk seemed to imply that Wall Street didn't have a problem with it.

Supporters of both Musk and Trump appear very willing to overlook behavior that lesser public figures might not be allowed to get away with.

Representatives for Musk didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider, made outside normal working hours.

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