If you read the New York Times or the Washington Post, you may have seen a full-page ad in the Sunday paper titled “Elon: Dump Trump”
The ad was placed by startup investor Doug Derwin, who wants to convince Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk that he’s failing environmentalists by serving on President Trump’s business advisory council.
“You’ve said climate change is one of the most important issues facing mankind,” the open letter began. “Donald Trump is a disaster for the fight against climate change.”
Derwin told CNN Money that he didn’t want to launch the Elon Dump Trump campaign, but he was inspired by Uber CEO Travis Kalanick’s decision to leave Trump’s business advisory council due to rising public pressure after Trump’s immigration order.
He also canceled his Tesla order and donated the $150,000 he was going to spend on the vehicle to the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California.
“I don’t understand why there wasn’t more public outcry against Musk,” Derwin said.
On February 2, Musk defended his decision to stay on the business advisory council through a tweet. “Advisory councils simply provide advice and attending does not mean that I agree with actions by the Administration,” his statement read. “I understand the perspective of those who object to my attending this meeting, but I believe at this time that engaging on critical issues will on balance serve the greater good.”
But Derwin isn’t buying it.
“Environmental organizations are speaking out against Trump’s climate change policies. EPA employees are speaking out. But you’ve been silent,” Derwin’s letter read. “Since the election, you haven’t said one word in public on the subject. Not one tweet, not one interview, not one word.”
Derwin even said that ExxonMobil has shown more courage than Musk in speaking out against the Trump climate change agenda.
Tesla, for its part, had something to say to Derwin. “Tesla’s entire reason for existing is to accelerate the advent of sustainable energy,” the company said in a statement. “If someone wants to spend money to promote a pro-environment objective, we can think of better ways to do that than attacking the people who are most committed to that very purpose.”
Derwin said that if Musk speaks out against the Trump agenda, he would donate $1 million to Musk’s charity of choice. “He doesn’t even have to resign from the board, just decry Trump climate change policies,” Derwin said.
The ad was also published in the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Jose Mercury News. Derwin’s total spend for all the ads was $400,000.
What do you think? Is Elon Musk serving the greater good by staying on President Trump’s business advisory board, or do you think he should be more vocal in standing up against the administration’s climate change agenda. Please share your thoughts in the comments.
Photo: A Red Tesla S model. Credit: Andrei Tudoran / Shutterstock.com