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Elon Musk explains why he won't quit Donald Trump's advisory council

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President Trump Holds Listening Session With Business Leaders Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

On the same day that Uber CEO Travis Kalanick stepped down from Donald Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has justified his presence at its meetings. In a statement, Musk said that his attendance does not mean that he agrees with the current administration’s actions and that he understood objections to his presence, but that he believed “at this time that engaging on critical issues will on balance serve the greater good.”

The Tesla boss still plans to attend the next meeting of the advisory board, where he says he — and others — will “express objections to the recent executive order on immigration.” Earlier this week, Musk said that refugees “don’t deserve to be rejected.” But rather than condemn the president’s recent executive order outright as some of his peers did, Musk turned to Twitter to crowdsource potential amendments, arguing that while there was no possibility Trump would rescind the order, he could be convinced to tweak it.

Musk said he agreed to join the Presidential Advisory Forum “to provide feedback on issues that I think are important for our country and the world.” In the statement — which he also shared on Twitter — he said his goals “are to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy and to help make humanity a multi-planet civilization, a consequence of which will be the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs and a more inspiring future for all.”

Both Kalanick and Musk agreed to join the 19-member economic advisory council last December — a group that also includes Disney CEO Bob Iger, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, and PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi. Kalanick stepped down today after Uber’s reaction to the immigration executive order reportedly led to 200,000 people deleting their accounts. “Joining the group was not meant to be an endorsement of the president or his agenda,” Kalanick said in an internal memo. “Unfortunately it has been misinterpreted to be exactly that.”


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