Tesla thrown under the bus in dinner conversation with Donald Trump

Tesla has grown much over the years, as evidenced by the domination of the Model 3 in the premium sedan segment and the rise of factories like Giga Shanghai. Yet, at the same time, the level of Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD) that the company and its supporters have had to deal with have also intensified over the years. Even today, with TSLA stock at record levels, and with the company overtaking Volkswagen as the second largest automaker in the industry by market cap, anti-Tesla FUD is still at an all-time high. 

At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, one must acknowledge a rather inconvenient truth. There is a massive misinformation campaign against Tesla, and it has been going on for years. One simply needs to look at a recently leaked recording of a 2018 White House dinner with US President Donald Trump to see proof of this. 

Recently, a 90-minute recording of Trump and several dinner guests was shared with the public by a lawyer for Lev Parnas, a Soviet-born businessman who was reportedly involved in ousting American diplomat Marie Yovanovitch, the US’ ambassador to Ukraine. Several topics were discussed in the recording, one of which was electric vehicles in the United States and Tesla’s chances of survival. 

During a particularly alarming part of the recording, which came at around the 58-minute mark, several individuals in the dinner started talking about electric vehicles. The US President asked how electric cars are doing in the market, and his inquiry was immediately met with a prompt “Not good.” A guest of the dinner then went on a long tirade against Tesla, filled with, unsurprisingly, a ton of FUD. Granted, Tesla was in a far more challenging place at the time when the recording was taken, but the sheer dislike for the company is quite shocking nonetheless. 

“Tesla’s broke. 100%. They can’t produce them. The auto companies have caught up to him. He’s never generated anywhere close to positive cash flow. He’s subsidized by 25,000 per vehicle. It’s over.  The other thing people forget about it it’s great to have an electric vehicle, but you gotta plug it in and get a charge somewhere. 

“And, the carbon footprint of this phone is the same as a refrigerator running. You need to generate the power. And generating it with wind and solar, wind and solar only generates 3.5% of our power usage today. You would take 50 years to get up to 5% at the rate we’re growing. It is still fossil k generating power. You have to have nuclear, you have to have oil and gas, and you have to have coal,” the guest said.

This statement, of course, is rife with misinformation. Since the time when the recording was taken, Tesla had only reported negative cash flow two times. The company posted positive cash flow four times. The alleged $25,000 subsidy that Teslas receive is also a complete fabrication, as the electric car maker’s federal credits only topped around $7,500. Of course, the comparison between the carbon footprint of a smartphone being comparable to the footprint of a running fridge is equally false. 

The conversation only gets stranger from this point, and even with US President Donald Trump bringing up the topic of Tesla’s stock price, the attendees of the dinner were dismissive of the company. A guest even threw some shade at Elon Musk, stating that the CEO is “a little off socially.” 

Fortunately for Tesla, the company appears to have reached a point where its results already speak for itself. Even with the FUD being thrown at Tesla’s efforts in China, for example, the company started MIC Model 3 deliveries before the facility’s construction hit the one-year mark. Despite all the alleged demand problems for the Model 3, the all-electric sedan has also maintained its momentum in regions such as Europe, driving down the point that there is a genuine demand for Tesla’s electric cars. 

Watch US President Donald Trump and his dinner guests discuss electric vehicles, Tesla, and Elon Musk in the video below.

Simon Alvarez: Simon is a reporter with a passion for electric cars and clean energy. Fascinated by the world envisioned by Elon Musk, he hopes to make it to Mars (at least as a tourist) someday.
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