Elon Musk Takes Freedom Search Back
to California after Short-Lived Texas Stint
February 22, 2023
Texas Republicans rolled out the red carpet for Elon Musk in a collective show of pride and glee in 2020 when he moved the Tesla engineering headquarters from California to Austin. Governor Greg Abbott announced in national media interviews that Musk was leaving California for the freedom that he would enjoy here in the Lone Star State.
The honeymoon came crashing to an end on Wednesday when Musk teamed up with California Governor Gavin Newsom to report that the Tesla HQ is returning home after less than three years in Abbott's state. The reunion is largely symbolic in light of the fact that Musk has substantial investments and operations in both of the nation's two largest states. But the silence among the Republicans in Texas was deafening as Newsom welcomed Musk back with the same glowing rhetoric that Abbott and others here had used when he spurned California for the Texas freedom quest.
“I couldn’t be more proud of California’s commitment to support Tesla over the course of the last few decades,” Newson said at an appearance with Musk at the former Hewlett-Packard site when the main offices will be in the Silicon Valley near the San Francisco area. “It’s a point of pride, always has been for me, that Tesla is a California company, started here first.”
Musk offered no parting shots at Texas like he'd done in 2021 when he branded California as a haven for excessive regulation, litigation and taxation. But the surprise exit from Austin is sand in the face of the Lone Star State where Abbott had portrayed himself as a close confidant of Musk at the outset of the abbreviated stint here.
While Musk stayed silent during the debate on an abortion ban in 2021, Abbott said that he spoke frequently with the SpaceX and Tesla founder. Abbott said Musk told him in a private conversation that he was a bigger fan of social policies in Texas than those in the Golden State.
But the chest-beating subsided after Tesla promised to pay for employees to travel out of Texas to obtain abortions in defiance of the prohibition here. Abbott and his GOP allies in Austin had just discovered woke - and some seemed to suspect that Musk might fit the definition when he didn't march in lockstep with them on social issues like the governor had forecast.
more to come ...