SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted and then quickly deleted three tweets condemning President Trump’s executive order on immigration today. The tweets took on a much more critical tone than the statements Musk made on January 28th. Shortly after deleting the tweets, Musk explained to an inquisitive Twitter user that these “were earlier drafts that I accidentally published.”
“Regarding govt policy, there are often things that happen that many people don’t agree with. This is normal for a functioning democracy,” he wrote in one of the tweets. A second tweet appears to continue that line of thinking: “They rarely warrant a public statement. However, the ban on Muslim immigrants from certain countries rises to this level. It is not right.” A third tweet simply said: “The Muslim immigration ban is not right.”
Musk’s original statements on the ban, which he tweeted two days before President Trump signed the executive order, drew criticism over their diplomatic nature. His position on President Trump’s Manufacturing Jobs Initiative as well as his economic advisory board also riled up opponents of the immigration ban, which has since been immobilized by the 9th Circuit.
While Uber CEO Travis Kalanick quit Trump’s advisory board following heat from the #DeleteUber movement, Musk chose to remain. Musk released a statement explaining his reasoning shortly after the first meeting. “I believe at this time that engaging on critical issues will on balance serve the greater good,” he wrote.
The question now is how Musk will explain the difference between his public statements and the ones that, until today, he withheld. We’ve reached out to Elon Musk and will update this story when he responds.