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Tesla's Musk Fact-Checks Biden's State of the Union

Elon Musk isn't letting go of his beef with the White House after EV maker Tesla again was snubbed, this time during Tuesday's State of the Union speech.
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Traditionally, the opposing political party picks one representative to rebut the U.S. president's annual State of the Union address.

This week, Republicans chose Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds to be the voice of opposition to President Joe Biden's vision for the country. 

Biden, however, may have faced a more formidable opponent in real time on Twitter. 

Biden gave a shoutout to the U.S. auto industry during his speech Tuesday night, name dropping Ford  (F) - Get Free Report and General Motors  (GM) - Get Free Report for building new factories in the U.S. as they transform their combustion-engine offerings into electric ones. 

The president's social-media team was also hard at work during the speech, tweeting out facts about the two legacy automakers that bolstered Biden's praise of their efforts. 

Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Free Report CEO Elon Musk decided to use social media to fact-check Biden in real time. Musk eventually emailed CNBC, saying, "Nobody is watching the State of the Union."

Musk's Beef With Biden Is Sharp

This isn't the first time Elon Musk has publicly sparred with the Biden administration online -- although the fight has come pretty much only from Austin. 

Biden has by and large ignored Musk and Tesla despite the company's leading market share in electric vehicles, an industry that is near and dear to the president's heart. 

One of Biden's obvious concerns about Tesla is that GM and Ford are unionized while Tesla is not.

In January, the White House said it planned to host executives from major U.S. companies in the auto and tech sectors to discuss the president's signature $1.75 trillion Build Back Better legislation. 

While the CEOs of GM and Ford were on the guest list for the meeting, Musk notably was not. That snub led Musk to tweet that "Biden is a damp (sock) puppet in human form."

Biden finally did extend an olive branch to Musk in early February, publicly mentioning Tesla

“Since 2021, companies have announced investments totaling more than $200 billion in domestic manufacturing here in America," Biden said in a speech about U.S. auto manufacturing. 

"From iconic companies like GM and Ford building out new electric vehicle production to Tesla — our nation’s largest electric vehicle manufacturer ... "We’re seeing the beginning of an American manufacturing comeback," Biden said. 

But Musk was not in a gracious mood.

It took Musk about a week to respond to Biden's mention of his company, and when he did, he did not address Biden directly but responded to a tweet from his personal account. 

Picking Sides in the EV Fight

Despite his foibles, Musk remains extremely popular among his supporters. 

And early in February a petition calling for Biden to apologize to Musk for snubbing him garnered nearly 40,000 signatures in just a weekend. 

"The White House and the Biden Administration have intentionally been trying to ignore Tesla's hard work while propping up GM and others as 'EV Leaders," according to the petition. "They have snubbed Tesla on behalf of [the United Auto Workers] citing that the EV events were for UAW."

"This is an insult to the Americans who work for Tesla. In addition, Biden's insistence that GM is leading while completely ignoring Tesla is pure manipulation and he needs to stop," the petition reads.