A wealthy environmentalist has launched a $2 million campaign pressuring Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, to end his highly-publicized business relationship with President Donald Trump.
Former Tesla owner Doug Derwin has spent more than $750,000 on billboards and newspaper ads trying to crowdsource a movement to pressure Musk to separate from Trump. Derwin told reporters Tuesday that he plans on blowing more than $2 million on the campaign.
He ran ads in The New York Times, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle and San Jose Mercury News on Sunday. Derwin also ran ads on Morning Joe, Meet the Press and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.
“Donald Trump’s election has made me a lot of money,” he said, referring to major investments he made that gained value after Trump’s election. “I consider that blood money. I’ll use it to oppose Trump.”
Derwin says he will give $1 million to the charity of Musk’s choosing if he gives into the wealthy Silicon Valley attorney’s demands.
He created a website Monday with the domain name ElonDumpTrump.com and put up several billboard ads around the Tesla head’s various companies with messages reading “Elon: The Trump Won’t Wash Off.’
Derwin put a $1,000 deposit down on a Tesla Model 3 shortly after the election to voice his disapproval of the president’s administration.
“One of the reasons I felt good about buying it was as a sort of statement in opposition to what was happening around me,” Derwin said. He has since withdrawn his deposit, and is encouraging other Tesla owners to do the same in a show of resistance to Trump’s climate policies.
“I want Musk to speak up against Donald Trump’s climate change policies,” he said. “His failure to do so sends the message that it’s not really a big deal and not worth his time.”
Tesla has not responded to reporters’ questions about what the company intends to do about Derwin’s campaign.
Musk has become one of Trump’s biggest supporters, at least on business matters.
The tech entrepreneur, who made opposition to fossil fuels a key component of his brand, offered an endorsement in February of former ExxonMobil CEO turned Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
The relationship benefits Musk and Trump equally, Bloomberg reported last month. The connection gives the president cover for techie-types in Silicon Valley, many of whom consider Trump an anti-science dullard.
Trump’s emphasis on job creation and infrastructure spending is the chief reason why Musk has maintained ties with the White House, despite opposition from his own well-healed customers. The electric automaker employs about 25,000 people across the U.S., and hopes to add another 1,000 at its solar panel factory in Buffalo.
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