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MSNBC Host Tees Up Biden Treasury Secretary To Take Swing At Elon Musk

MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell teed up Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Tuesday to comment on how billionaire Elon Musk poses a potential threat to national security.

Musk’s Tesla has a factory in Shanghai that has manufactured 2 million cars, and the billionaire has reportedly expressed caution with criticizing China. Mitchell cited a New York Times report on Musk’s connections to China as well as his contracts with the U.S. government for defense and other initiatives before asking Yellen about the possible risks.

“Let me finally ask you about a New York Times report, but other reporting that we have done on Elon Musk and his relationship with China,” Mitchell said. “Obviously Tesla competing now against their cheaper EVs, but he is really dependent on that Chinese market, very tied in with them. He has huge defense contracts. His satellites or the satellites we rely on for so much of our communication. Is it a national security problem for — and his rockets, of course — isn’t it a national security problem for our government to have so much reliance on this one entrepreneur?”

WATCH: 

Yellen did not directly address Musk in her answer to the question.

“Well, look, we take national security very seriously and want to protect our national security,” she said. “Our desire is not to shut down economic relations with China. We want to diversify our supply chains, but many American firms operate in China and gain from the ability to sell to China’s large market.”

“China obviously sells a lot in the United States and the competition among our firms is by and large a healthy thing,” Yellen added. “We want to stabilize that relationship, not shut it down. But also, we need to make sure that the playing field is level, and we are concerned about Chinese subsidies and the impact on our firms.”

Musk’s SpaceX entered a classified $1.8 billion contract with an unnamed U.S. agency in 2021, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing company documents.

Musk met with Shanghai Chinese Communist Party Committee Secretary Chen Jining and China’s foreign, commerce and industry ministers in 2023, according to Reuters.

“The interests of the United States and China are intertwined like conjoined twins,” China’s foreign ministry quoted Musk as remarking following a meeting, according to CNN Business.

Musk has faced numerous investigations stemming from President Joe Biden’s administration since he acquired social media platform Twitter — now X — in October 2022.

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Jason Cohen

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