Elon Musk taps inner Trump into Twitter machinations

Elon Musk taps inner Trump into Twitter machinations

It’s all fun and games until the judge steps in and the real consequences begin.

Elon Musk may acquire Twitter Inc. Before a court deadline of October 28 to complete the $44 billion acquisition. Tesla Inc’s stock price may rebound. , which is the currency Musk may need to rely on to help pay for the deal, from a grinding recession. Perhaps the seven banks that arranged the $13 billion loan — and would lose up to $500 million in the deal — would still be tough. Perhaps the alliance of the wealthy and venture capitalists who promised $7 billion to support Musk’s bid will remain.

However, that’s a lot, even for the entrepreneur who is used to exceeding previous expectations while also promoting ill-informed ideas on a wide range of topics, including Covid-19, reality television, reproduction, Martian democracy and the fates of Taiwan and Ukraine. And this time, for the first time, Musk has a law that pays close attention to his deceptive moves. (Don’t count the previous lukewarm watch and slaps on the wrist from the SEC.)

The lying, spinning, and misdirection that Musk associated with his Twitter show may have been fun when the show first came out, but the judge is now looking into it. Yes, he’s the richest person in the world, but his declining shares of Tesla, among his most liquid possessions, lost 16% of their value last week after the company’s auto sales fell short of expectations. He may have to pay more cash or sell assets such as part of his stake in Space Exploration Technology Corp. to fully finance the acquisition. Reality catches up with Musk, and all of this is very Trumpian.

Of course, there are clear differences between Musk and former President Donald Trump. Musk wasn’t all about stirring up coups, for example, so brinkmanship has less repercussions. But he dealt harshly with labor standards, securities regulations, and truth in his pursuit of Twitter, wasting others’ time and money and messing with the fates of Twitter’s 7,500 employees. His tendency to do as he pleases without worrying about harm coincides with Trump’s own mojo.

Both men are thin-skinned and unpredictable. Both take pleasure in criticizing their critics on social media; Both use social media to promote personality cults; And they both seem to think they have universal intelligence.

Musk and Trump have also attracted herds of courtiers and enablers eager to advance their own ambitions, relish their rise to power or make a little money. Such adulation has produced a deluge of tragic publicity.

Former Presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway once said of a man who avoided knowing anything about most issues: “Donald Trump is at his best, at his best, when he talks about issues.” Jack Dorsey, the Twitter founder and former CEO whose poor management of the company helped make it a takeover target, was heroic about Musk’s takeover bid: “Elon is the only solution I can trust. I trust his mission is to extend the light of consciousness.”

Extension of the light of awareness does not appear to be the driving force behind Musk’s attempt on Twitter. What is the? Well, Musk will tell you it’s an “X-creation accelerator, apply everything.” Ah, yes, apply everything. As my colleague Barmi Olson has pointed out, an app that caters to every consumer has tremendous commercial appeal, some of which is already in place in places like China. But US regulators are unlikely to sign off on a project like this, and as Olson also noted, “It’s probably not the best idea for a fickle person like Musk to oversee an app where millions participate in social comments, payments, shopping, identification and more.”

But saying you have a huge app called “X” in mind, without putting any clothes on the idea, sends just the right amount of experts to your fan base. When one of Musk’s Twitter followers told him that “it was easier to start X from scratch,” Musk hits the softball out of the park with this reply: “Maybe Twitter X speeds up 3 to 5 years, but I can be wrong – unfair – darkening. ”

Translation: “Twitter, which I don’t yet own and which operates in a volatile industry I’ve never worked in before, will speed the development of an unknown X that I never touched, and by a scale I just invented.” This sounds like, wait for it, wait for it…Trump.

The former president was scrambling to launch a Twitter competitor because running media companies is tough, and money and celebrities alone aren’t enough to make it work. He entered the White House promising to bring business-like efficiency to the Washington quagmire, but he never articulated the concept. Then he threw chaos on everything around him and filled the swamp with his people. “I’ll give you everything,” Trump promised when he ran for the presidency and didn’t deliver on most of it.

Much of Trump’s more realistic actions, many of them involving potential election fraud and financial irregularities, have entrapped him in the bosom of the law. Civil and criminal trials at the state and federal level are underway for Trump and his henchmen. Trump has roamed around the rule of law for decades, and he may prove elusive again, but he faces some formidable challenges.

Musk — who has staggering, massive accomplishments under his belt at Tesla and SpaceX — is nowhere near the kinds of existential legal troubles Trump has. However, for someone who routinely brushes their noses at the Securities and Exchange Commission, his experience confronting Twitter in a Delaware Chancery court for trying to extricate himself from a takeover was a sobering one.

The case was an embarrassment to Musk. Dangerous text messages and other communications have been issued. Judge Kathleen McCormick presided over the matter with an iron fist, refusing to allow Musk and his lawyers to get away with any tricks. When it became clear that he would not win in court and would have to endure onerous depositions, Musk halted the case and is now reconsidering the Twitter acquisition. The court arrested him.

Musk also ventured into dangerous legal territory. If he does not have an agreement by October 28, McCormick plans to proceed to trial in November. He also told the judge – not just investors and the media – that he intended to complete the acquisition. You may decide to force him to close the deal, or you may find evidence of securities fraud in his court machinations. It’s also possible that some investors are waiting in the wings, ready to sue Musk if he doesn’t follow through.

This is a lot of pressure. Musk is likely to skip most of it. However, his foray on Twitter has made him known to anyone who has seen Trump exposed on multiple occasions – as the unclothed emperor.

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