Elon Musk goes after Bernie Sanders over tweet saying wealthy should ‘pay their fair share’

Tesla boss’s latest rude tweet attacks veteran senator over his age

John Bowden
Sunday 14 November 2021 18:53
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The Real Reason Elon Musk Wants to Sell His Stock

The meme-obsessed founder of Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk, attempted to start a feud with Senate Budget Committee chairman Bernie Sanders on Sunday after the senator’s Twitter account called upon wealthy Americans to “pay their fair share” in taxes.

Mr Musk’s objection to Mr Sanders’s tweet came in the form of a reply quipping “I keep forgetting that you’re still alive,” before the billionaire CEO went on to ask the senator if he should sell more of his Tesla stock, which he did in recent days to satisfy US tax obligations as part of his bid to exercise other Tesla stock options.

“Want me to sell more stock, Bernie? Just say the word,” remarked Mr Musk.

The CEO’s efforts to pick a fight with Mr Sanders is his second such attempt in recent weeks. He also attacked the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Ron Wyden, over a tweet noting that the only reason Mr Musk was paying any taxes at all was because he had chosen to exercise stock options; the Tesla chairman pays little to no income tax currently under US law.

Mr Musk created a Twitter poll last week questioning his followers whether he should sell Tesla stock. He previously indicated that he would consider doing so and donating the profits to fight world hunger, but there’s no indication he actually intends to do so with this sale.

“Whether or not the world’s wealthiest man pays any taxes at all shouldn’t depend on the results of a Twitter poll. It’s time for the Billionaires’ Income Tax,” tweeted Mr Wyden in response to Mr Musk’s poll. His proposal would treat stock asset gains like income and tax such earnings accordingly.

Mr Musk took umbrage with Mr Wyden’s remarks, and fired back in response: “Why does ur [profile picture] look like u just came?”

The senator’s office did not respond to a request for comment from The Independent, and Mr Wyden did not issue a public comment on Mr Musk’s remarks.

The former Tesla and current SpaceX CEO has remained in the headlines of mainstream media outlets over the years with his various antics including smoking marijuana on Joe Rogan’s podcast. His Twitter habits have gotten him into trouble in the past, resulting in a court ordering his tweets be pre-approved by company lawyers.

One instance of his tweets leading him to controversy ended in 2018 with a settlement between Tesla and the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) that resulted in Mr Musk stepping down as Tesla’s CEO and the company paying millions in fines.

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