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Trump & Musk Secret Meet Raises Speculation

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A secretive meeting between two of America’s most controversial figures hints at shifting political winds ahead of the 2024 presidential race. Former President Donald Trump, desperate to bolster his finances, held private talks with billionaire tech mogul Elon Musk and wealthy GOP donors at Trump’s Palm Beach estate. 

While details are scarce, Musk’s attendance fuels speculation he could bankroll Trump’s third White House run. Their alliance would be seismic, pairing Trump’s unmatched sway with Republican voters with Musk’s vast wealth and legions of diehard fans.

 However, profound challenges remain for Trump, from overcoming his enduring unpopularity outside the GOP base to navigating investigations and potential primary challengers. Though unpredictable and eccentric, Musk brings resources potentially crucial to boosting Trump amid his myriad obstacles. 

This high-stakes huddle between two unpredictable icons underscores America’s turbulent political crossroads as the next presidential contest looms.

Former President Donald Trump, urgently seeking money for his 2024 presidential campaign, met privately on Sunday in Palm Beach with Elon Musk, one of the world’s richest men.

The secretive meeting was also attended by a handful of wealthy Republican donors, according to three people briefed on the discussion. Trump and his team are aggressively courting mega-donors like Musk as he mounts a likely general election campaign against President Biden.

Trump has effusively praised Musk in recent conversations with allies and is working to schedule a one-on-one meeting soon, said a source close to the former president. It remains unclear if Musk will open his wallet for Trump, but his recent inflammatory statements on Twitter signal he is staunchly anti-Biden and believes Trump’s return to the White House is vital.

The Billionaire Wild Card

Musk could almost single-handedly wipe out Biden’s massive financial advantage if he directs even a fraction of his $200 billion fortune towards Trump. He could quickly become the top donor in 2024 if he chooses. On Wednesday, Musk tweeted that he is “not donating money to either candidate,” but did not specify who he was referring to.

Musk has long portrayed himself as an independent unwilling to be tied to either party. His businesses like Tesla and SpaceX have benefited handsomely from government subsidies under both Republican and Democratic administrations. In the past, Musk has tried to balance his donations evenly between the two parties.

A person close to Mr. Musk said his relationship with the government had historically made him wary about identifying too closely with one political party over the other. In 2017, the billionaire famously stepped away from two business advisory councils when Mr. Trump was president over Mr. Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement. “Climate change is real,” Mr. Musk posted on Twitter in June 2017. “Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.”

The two have had other moments of friction. A few months before the midterm elections, in the summer of 2022, he and the former president traded insults, with Mr. Trump calling him an expletive and Mr. Musk saying it was time for the former president to “sail into the sunset.”

But in recent months, Musk’s views seem to have shifted decisively in Trump’s favor. On the eve of the 2022 midterms, Musk publicly urged Americans to vote Republican. He has grown increasingly vocal against what he calls the “woke mind virus” of the left and slammed Biden over the surge of migrants at the southern border.

Musk’s commentary on immigration has turned especially incendiary. He has stated that Biden’s policies are an existential threat to America that have brought the country to the precipice of disaster. Musk also promotes right-wing conspiracies that Democrats are “ushering in vast numbers of illegals” to rig elections.

“America will fall if it tries to absorb the world,” Musk tweeted Tuesday. Earlier that day, he said Biden’s immigration policies amounted to nothing less than treason against the country.

The confidant says Musk’s views on immigration are a major factor pushing him toward Trump. Musk has also taken personal shots at Biden, once tweeting that the 80-year old president seems to spend most of his time “still sleeping.” Musk was also enraged that Tesla was excluded from a White House event on electric vehicles in 2021.

The Kingmaker Platform

Even if Musk ultimately opts not to open his wallet, he brings unmatched influence as a political influencer. Musk’s tweets reach over 100 million followers worldwide. He dominates news cycles whenever he speaks up. By vocally endorsing Trump, Musk could instantly sway millions of fans to follow his lead or at least take a second look at the former president.

Since purchasing Twitter in October 2022, Musk has already amplified Trump’s voice by reinstating the account that was banned after January 6. Musk defended the move as a free speech decision, though he had previously said Twitter was right to suspend Trump’s account in the aftermath of the Capitol attack.

FILE PHOTO: Elon Musk’s twitter account is seen on a smartphone in front of the Twitter logo in this photo illustration taken, April 15, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

On Monday, Musk directly criticized television host Bill Maher for saying he would vote for Biden over Trump under any circumstances. “Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS) is a very real disease,” Musk replied, using a mocking nickname coined by members of the far-right.

The statement added to perceptions that America’s wealthiest man is firmly in Trump’s camp. While Musk holds immense sway, however, he cannot single-handedly determine the outcome of the 2024 race. While Musk’s support could boost Trump’s chances in 2024, Trump still faces fundraising challenges compared to Biden’s well-stocked war chest going into the presidential race.

Trump is entering 2024 at a marked financial disadvantage compared to Biden’s well-oiled fundraising machine. At the end of January, President Biden’s campaign had $56 million in cash, compared with $30.5 million for Trump. The Democratic National Committee, which is functioning as a part of Biden’s campaign, had $24 million in the bank — almost triple the $8.7 million held by the Republican National Committee.

That leaves Trump more reliant than ever on new mega-donors emerging to bolster his finances. Billionaire tech executives Peter Thiel and Larry Ellison were major Trump contributors in the past. But Thiel has moved on to support other candidates like J.D. Vance and Blake Masters, while Ellison hasn’t yet re-upped his support of Trump.

However, former President Trump never shy away from a challenge, recently he just said he would take part in a TV forum with the Democratic president “anytime, anywhere, anyplace” posting online in all capital letters. Mr Trump’s challenge came hours after his last Republican rival, Nikki Haley, dropped out of the race to be the Republican nominee for the White House.

“It is important, for the Good of our Country, that Joe Biden and I Debate Issues that are so vital to America, and the American People,” Mr Trump posted on his social media website, Truth Social, hours after Ms Haley’s departure from the race.

He added that such debates could be run by the Democratic National Committee, or the Commission on Presidential Debates, which has overseen presidential debates for the last 30 years. While Trump faces challenges in securing the Republican nomination, if he makes it to the general election as the GOP nominee, he would enter with some substantial advantages

Trump Challenges Ahead

Despite these headwinds, Trump retains formidable advantages as the 2024 race takes shape. He remains immensely popular with the Republican base and will benefit from party resources and ad spending in the general election.

But Trump must first get past a potentially bruising primary where his finances and small-dollar support will be tested. That imperative explains Trump’s urgent outreach to mega-donors as the calendar flipped to 2023.

Beyond Musk, Trump is working to mend fences with wealthy former supporters and expand his limited donor network. Trump has always resented spending large chunks of his time cold-calling donors for cash, but recognizes he must dial up these efforts to close the money gap with Biden.

These efforts underscore Trump’s vulnerabilities as he tries locking down the Republican nomination for a third consecutive time. This time he faces potential well-funded challengers like Ron DeSantis who will highlight Trump’s fundraising woes as proof his grip on the GOP has faded.

The chance to bend the ear of Musk, who has the resources to single-handedly shift the 2024 financial landscape, was the biggest draw of the weekend for Trump. Details of their conversation remain closely guarded.

The threat of new revelations from investigations by the DOJ, New York prosecutors, and Georgia officials continues hanging over Trump as he plots his third presidential run. But the ability to unlock Musk’s financial support would give Trump an instant boost amid his legal woes. The support of America’s richest man could be instrumental in Trump’s quest to regain power over a party establishment eager to move on, neutralize potential GOP challengers, and match the vaunted Democratic fundraising machine.

Now America awaits Elon Musk’s next move

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