Elon Musk to raise objections to Donald Trump's immigration order at White House tech meeting
Elon Musk has said he will voice his objections to Donald Trump’s hard-line immigration ban during a meeting at the White House on Friday.
The SpaceX and Teslar founder, who sits on the President’s business advisory council, defended his decision to participate just hours after Uber CEO, Travis Kalanick, announced he was pulling out. Kalanick was forced to quit the board after mounting pressure from activists and employees, many of whom are immigrants, who oppose Mr Trump’s “Muslim ban”.
Musk said he was keen to engage directly with the Trump administration and argued sitting on the advisory body was in no way equivalent to being in agreement with the government’s policies.
“I agreed to join the Presidential Advisory Forum to provide feedback on issues that I think are important for our country and the world, “ Musk said in a statement posted on Twitter late on Thursday.
“In tomorrow’s meeting, I and others will express our objections to the recent executive order on immigration and offer suggestions for changes to the policy.”
“I understand the perspective of those who object to my attending this meeting,” he added. “But I believe at this time that engaging on critical issues will on balance serve the greater good.”
Musk said his main goals were centred on accelerating the global transition to sustainable energy and making “humanity a multi-planet civilisation”.
It is of course not clear what type of response the criticism of the executive order, which has temporarily banned travellers from seven majority-Muslim nations, could elicit from the fiery President.
The Friday meeting is the business advisory council’s first. The board included 19 business leaders before the Uber CEO dropped out after the the #DeleteUber campaign gained increasing traction on social media.
“Joining the group was not meant to be an endorsement of the President or his agenda but unfortunately it has been misinterpreted to be exactly that,” Kalanick said in an email to staff.
Musk, a South African-born tech billionaire whose electric car, aerospace, and solar power businesses are directly affected by federal policies, has already criticised the “Muslim ban”.
“The blanket entry ban on citizens from certain primarily Muslim countries is not the best way to address the country’s challenges,” he tweeted two days after the controversial executive order was signed.
The tech titan, who backed Hillary Clinton during the presidential election, recently stoked controversy after he suggested Mr Trump’s government might be good at tackling climate change. Musk tweeted his support for Rex Tillerson, the President’s controversial secretary of state pick, and in later updates wrote: “Rex is an exceptionally competent executive, understands geopolitics and knows how to win for his team. His team is now the USA.”
Musk was previously a firm opponent of Mr Trump, dismissing the billionaire property mogul as “not the right man for the job” shortly before he won the election. However, since then he has indicated a willingness to work with Mr Trump.
Last week, the President signed an executive order suspending the entire US refugee admissions system for 120 days, halting the Syrian refugee programme indefinitely, and banning entry for people from seven majority-Muslim countries. People have been blocked from boarding US-bound flights and detained in US airports.
Independent News Service