If Elon Musk's Pandemic Leadership Didn't Cancel Him, What Will?

barronsBarron’s: you’re really going to continue to deify Elon Musk, who effectively deemed coronavirus a political distraction and defied/sued Alameda County shelter-in-place orders to stay open and re-open the Tesla factory? Workers tested positive shortly after re-opening, and others who spoke out against the unsafe conditions and stayed home to stay safe were subsequently fired. He lied about producing ventilators, instead delivered sleep apnea breathing machines, and claimed credit for saving the world. He falsely claimed children are “basically immune” to covid and proclaimed that new cases would be “close to zero” by the end of April “based on current trends.” He continued to question and ignore science, despite continually calling on everyone else to consider his pseudoscience. 

And that’s just a hint of his “leadership” during coronavirus. Tesla factories are known to have higher than industrial-average injury rates due to unsafe conditions, and a whistleblower was fired. And the time he and his fanboy army doxxed a Tesla critic, by calling his employer? Remember the time he called a British rescue diver (for the Thai kids stuck in a cave) a “pedo guy” amidst one of his hundreds of Twitter spats? And recall half of his defamation defense was basically, “who among us hasn’t called someone a pedo guy?” 

And let’s not forget the one incident that Barron’s readers might care about: that time he tweeted he was taking Tesla private at $420/share, declaring, “Funding secured.” He lost his chairmanship of Tesla over it and caught a light slap on the wrist from the SEC. Meanwhile he continues to mislead investors by providing outrageously impossible goal and milestone dates, which he has virtually never achieved (Tesla’s financial position, readiness of vehicle/SpaceX launches/production rates, synergies with Solar City, etc.). At one point he basically said, “I’ve never been on time for any of my deliveries, why would you expect us to start now?” Because that’s how the rest of the responsible investment/adult community behaves, Elon. 

And though it was an amazing accomplishment, it’s important to note that the SpaceX launch allowed Elon Musk to claim credit for the leadership and hard work of female President and COO of SpaceX, Gwynne Shotwell. You know he wasn’t really running the ship because he was busy calling the Alameda County health orders fascist, visiting with Joe Rogan, and (theoretically) being a father to a new baby. Moreover, the launch and the ongoing privately-funded space race merely represent the megalomaniac desires of billionaires’ to occupy everything and live forever. 

This man is the worst kind of leader and is effectively a mini version of Donald Trump. He is narcissist who will do whatever it takes, including risking the lives of others, to get what he wants. If Musk’s pandemic leadership is lauded in any way, we are really in trouble for November. 

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