Elon Musk directs crude tweet to senator who called out his tax poll as stunt

Ron Wyden had had tweeted that ‘it’s time for the Billionaires Income Tax’

John Bowden
Monday 08 November 2021 17:12
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Twitter votes Elon Musk should sell 10 percent of Tesla stock

Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk appeared to be picking a fight with Senate Finance Committee chairman Ron Wyden on Sunday with a vulgar tweet in response to criticism from the Oregon senator.

The drama centred around a Twitter poll begun by Mr Musk on Friday; the billionaire CEO asked his followers (and the rest of Twitter) whether he should sell 10 per cent of his Tesla stock. He previously had claimed that he would make such a transaction and donate the profits to fight world hunger if the United Nations presented a transparent plan to do so.

Mr Wyden, a senior Democrat in the Senate, tweeted in response that “[w]hether or not the world’s wealthiest man pays any taxes at all shouldn’t depend on the results of a Twitter poll”, and cited the discussion as evidence of the need for his legislation with Sen Elizabeth Warren to establish a wealth tax.

“It’s time for the Billionaires Income Tax,” he tweeted.

Mr Musk fired back hours later in response after his poll was clearly trending towards the idea of him giving up some of his wealth, issuing a vulgar remark regarding Mr Wyden’s Twitter profile image.

“Why does ur [profile picture] look like u just came?” tweeted the 50-year-old businessman.

The remark was not accompanied by any response to the merits of Mr Wyden’s tweet; The Independent has reached out to Tesla as well as Mr Wyden’s office for comment on the situation.

Mr Musk’s net worth is in the hundreds of billions, and a sale of 10 per cent of his stock in Tesla was estimated by Forbes on Friday to be worth around $20.8bn. The company’s stock price dropped 2.5 per cent on Monday however as trading began.

Whether Mr Musk’s sale of the stock is truly linked to a Twitter poll is also up for debate; a report in Fortune noted that he is looking for cash to purchase stock options that could net him billions more, even after taxes.

The former Tesla CEO’s Twitter presence has long been controversial and has left Mr Musk in hot water with federal authorities before. The US Securities and Exchange Commission has on multiple occasions taken issue with his tweets, resulting in his exit as Tesla CEO after a settlement. As part of the settlement, his tweets were to be pre-approved by company lawyers.

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