And he's not the only one.
Which the more difficult place to exist, on the airless surface of Mars or in Donald Trump's economic council? Tesla CEO Elon Musk is about to find out. Despite pressure from any number of sources, Musk says he's sticking around, even if fellow Silicon Valley superstar Travis Kalanick, the CEO of Uber, has bowed out, saying that, "Joining the group was not meant to be an endorsement of the president or his agenda but unfortunately it has been misinterpreted to be exactly that." After Kalanick left following the #DeleteUber campaign, Trump apparently got mad at him. Nonetheless, Musk is giving a positive reason for sticking around.
In a long Twitter post, Musk said that he's focused on the bigger picture, and - like Kalanick - that just going to these meetings is not meant to be taken as support for Trump's policies. "My 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," he wrote. "I understand the perspective of those who object to my attending this meeting, but I believe at this time that engaging on critical issues will on balance serve the greater good." He also said, "I and others will express our objections to the recent executive order and offer suggestions to change the policy." While some people have said they are canceling their Model 3 pre-orders because of Musk's association with Trump, there's been no groundswell against Tesla like there was with Uber.
Musk is responding to critics on Twitter about the issue, too.
Trump isn't the only automotive executive walking a delicate line with Trump. Ford executive chairman Bill Ford is friends with Trump, but his company spoke out against the "Muslim ban." Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a senior associate dean of Yale University's School of management, told Automotive News that Ford and Ford CEO Mark Fields, "do not risk retaliatory tweets or worse because they've been respectful of the White House."