Power Players

Elon Musk backs presidential candidate Andrew Yang, who advocates giving Americans $1,000 a month

Elon Musk
Mark Ralston | AFP | Getty Images

Billionaire Tesla and SpaceX boss Elon Musk supports long-shot Democratic presidential hopeful Andrew Yang.

"I support Yang," Musk tweeted Saturday in response to a comment about Yang on Dan Carlin's Hardcore History feed, an account that Musk follows.


And Yang responded: "Thank you Elon — this means a great deal. Congrats on building the future."

Yang response tweet

Musk — who is currently worth very nearly $20 billion, according to Forbes — and Yang have stated similar views on the need for a universal basic income (UBI) in the U.S.

"There is a pretty good chance we end up with a universal basic income, or something like that, due to automation," Musk told CNBC in 2016. "Yeah, I am not sure what else one would do. I think that is what would happen."

And UBI is of the main tenants of Yang's campaign platform — he pledges to give $1,000 a month to all American citizens 18 and older. Yang also says his so-called "Freedom Dividend" is necessary as robots and automation replace human workers more rapidly than people can find and be retrained for new jobs.

(Third party projections as to how robots will impact the job market for humans are mixed as to whether automation will make or destroy jobs overall.)

Musk's previous forays into politics have been charged.

He was heavily criticized for agreeing to sit on three of President Donald Trump's presidential councils in 2016, before resigning in June 2017 over Trump's withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement.

"Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world," he said at the time.

TWEET Trump council withdrawal

A year later, Musk came under fire for donating almost $40,000 to Protect the House, a Republican political-action committee designed to help Republicans during the 2018 midterm elections.

Musk, both individually and through his companies, donates to candidates, political campaigns and political-action committees. He donates "a nominal amount" to both parties, he has said, "to maintain dialogue."

"Reports that I am a top donor to GOP are categorically false. I am not a top donor to any political party," Musk tweeted.

TWEET nominal amount

Musk, who was born in Pretoria, South Africa but became an American citizen in 2002, has said he is a registered Independent.

"To be clear, I am not a conservative," Musk tweeted in 2018. "Am registered independent [and] politically moderate. Doesn't mean I'm moderate about all issues. Humanitarian issues are extremely important to me [and] I don't understand why they are not important to everyone."

TWEET Independent

Neither SpaceX nor Tesla immediately responded to CNBC Make It's request for comment on Musk's political donations. But public data on the Federal Election Commission's website and OpenSecrets.org (which uses the FEC data) do not show any donations to any individual presidential candidates so far.

Yang's campaign did not immediately respond to CNBC Make It's request for comment.

See also:

Meet Andrew Yang, the 44-year-old running for president who wants to give Americans $1,000 free cash per month

Elon Musk: Robots will take your jobs, government will have to pay your wage

See Elon Musk's $6 million rocket part land in a boat in the ocean — a feat he calls 'insane'

This 2020 presidential candidate wants to pay every adult US citizen $1,000 a month
This 2020 presidential candidate wants to pay every adult US citizen $1,000 a month