Even an antisemitic remark could not force Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to disavow his billionaire propeller Elon Musk, using an interview on Sunday to instead defend the X owner against the critical chorus.
CNN host Jake Tapper raised Musk’s tweet from Wednesday to the GOP presidential candidate, where Musk agreed that Jewish people “have been pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them.”
“You have said the actual truth,” Musk replied. Tapper pressed DeSantis on whether he saw and condemned the remark.
“I did not see the comment,” DeSantis claimed. “I know that Elon has had a target on his back ever since he purchased Twitter, because I think he’s taking it in a direction that a lot of people who are used to controlling the narrative don’t like. So I was a big supporter of him purchasing Twitter. I think that they’re obviously still working some stuff out, but I did not see those comments.”
Musk helped DeSantis officially announce his presidential campaign on Twitter in May, using a Twitter Space to speak with the governor about his decision to run. The two have spoken cordially about each other for years, and Musk said last year that he’d prefer DeSantis in 2024. (Musk has not endorsed a candidate.)
The non-answer seemed to strain credibility, but Tapper gave DeSantis the benefit of the doubt—and showed DeSantis the tweet. “You have been very out front when you see antisemitism on the left,” Tapper said. “Is antisemitism on the right something that concerns you as well?”
Still, DeSantis tried to absolve Musk of blame. The Florida governor claimed antisemitism on the right was restricted to “fringe voices” while the left promoted antisemitism through institutions like colleges and universities. He minimized the X post as mere “blogging,” ignoring the fact that the world’s richest man—and the platform’s owner—engaged with and amplified it.
“Elon Musk is a pretty powerful guy, and he’s out there endorsing some pretty hideous antisemitic conspiracy theories,” Tapper said. “And I still haven’t heard you condemn it.”
Only then did DeSantis deliver the slightest, bad-if-true critique of Musk.
“I know Elon Musk,” he said. “I have never seen him do anything. I think he’s a guy that believes in America. I have never seen him indulge in any of that. So it’s surprising, if that’s true, but I have not seen it. So I don’t want to sit there and pass judgment on the fly.”
The tweet in question has led to an exodus of major advertisers from X over the past couple of days, with companies including IBM, Apple, Disney, and Warner Bros. Discovery all pulling ad dollars from the platform.
Barbara Terrio is a seasoned business journalist, delving into the world of finance, startups, and entrepreneurship. With a knack for demystifying complex economic trends, she helps readers navigate the business landscape. Outside of her reporting, Barbara is an advocate for financial literacy and enjoys mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs.