Ever since former President Donald Trump was sent into the digital equivalent of the Land of Nod, the reigning provocateur on Twitter Inc TWTR has been the self-crowned Tesla Inc. TSLA technoking Elon Musk.
Lately, Musk’s tweets have single-handedly turned the cryptocurrency trading activity into something resembling an oscilloscope screen, with Bitcoin BTC/USD and Dogecoin DOGE/USD rapidly ascending and crashing based on his tweet-based whims.
But Musk doesn’t need cryptocurrency to invigorate, baffle, anger and blindside his Twitter audience. Lest we forget, here are 10 of Musk’s wildest, wooliest and weirdest tweets from his pre-crypto obsession days.
Yo, Bezos! Few corporate leaders call out their rivals by name, but Musk is not shy about dissing his competition. On Nov. 24, 2015, Amazon.com, Inc. AMZN chief Jeff Bezos tweeted news of his Blue Origin aerospace subsidiary’s successful launch and landing of its reusable New Shepard rocket. However, the SpaceX honcho was unimpressed:
Musk did a follow-up tweet with a video showing SpaceX’s Falcon 9 test rig completing a divert test. For his part, Bezos ignored his competitor’s fact checking.
A Too-Hasty Exit: On Aug. 7, 2018, Musk surprised everyone — including executives at Tesla — with this tweet:
To borrow a line from the agitated elderly lady in an insurance commercial: That’s not how this works! The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued him in federal court for securities fraud and Musk paid a $20 million civil fine to settle fraud charges and stepped down as Tesla chairman. The company, which had nothing to do with this unilateral declaration, was socked by the SEC for its own $20 million settlement.
Flagged Down: On Sept. 8, 2019, Musk showed a hitherto-unknown passion for vexillology by offering this distinctive observation:
In case you’re wondering if the two countries were aware of this issue, Chad and Romania established diplomatic relations in July 1969, but neither has an embassy in the other's capital— which is a shame, as they could probably save money on flags during diplomatic functions.
Water, Water Everywhere: On Jan. 25, 2020, Musk posted a video from a Tesla Model S driver who was driving out of a tunnel that experienced shallow flooding. Musk, perhaps taking nautical inspiration from the notorious Captain “Wrong Way” Peachfuzz from the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons, offered this astonishing comparison between his automobile and underwater naval craft:
Mercifully, Musk didn’t opt to rewrite the Beatles tune to tell the world how “we all live in a yellow Tesla Model S.”
Not So Smart: By mid-March 2020, world attention was arrested on an unprecedented health crisis that expanded to global proportions. Musk’s response to the crisis:
Yeah, this tweet didn’t age very well.
Homeownership Is Overrated: On May 1, 2020, Musk decided the American Dream was not for him:
To his credit, Musk tried to keep his word. According to the New York Post, as of March 3, he sold off most of his $130 million real estate portfolio, with only a $35 million mansion in San Jose awaiting a new owner.
First Lady Kim Kardashian: Musk has rarely talked partisan politics on Twitter, but during the 2020 presidential election he bypassed Trump and Biden for another high-profile candidate:
Four days later, Musk had an acute change of mind and publicly retracted his support, deadpanning to his Twitter audience: “We may have more differences of opinion than I anticipated.”
Billionaires Make Strange Bedfellows: Microsoft Corporation MSFT co-founder Bill Gates became one of Musk’s critics after that coronavirus comment. Musk’s reaction to the criticism was…well, not what some people expected:
Well, he was honest: Melinda Gates did not cite Musk as being responsible for the fraying of her marriage.
Uncle Sam Is Not Amused: It’s not every day that the U.S. government tells a Twitter user to delete a tweet, but that unlikely bit of history occurred last March when the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) told Musk that his tweet from May 21, 2018, violated labor laws.
The tweet was part of a NLRB investigation into Tesla’s alleged disruption of union organizing at one of its facilities. Musk’s tweet is still online as Tesla appeals the NLRB’s ruling.
An Elon Oopsie: While Musk decides to preserve his tweets in the face of government pressure, he is occasionally willing to self-delete a tweet. Case in point: five days after the NLRB told him to remove that earlier tweet, Musk responded to a Twitter user’s prediction that Tesla could be "biggest thing ever" and surpass Apple Inc AAPL as the world's biggest company, Musk offered this mathematically puzzling statement:
Musk erased the tweet after a flurry of comments on his greater-than-zero equation. But, of course, as anyone who tiptoed through cyberspace knows, nothing ever truly disappears from social media.
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