Elon Musk had wanted to recruit Rudy Giuliani in the early 2000s to help turn PayPal into a bank, but the outgoing New York mayor was too skeezy even for Musk, according to a new biography of the Tesla founder.
Musk co-founded PayPal in 2000. He originally wanted to name the company X and dreamed it would disrupt the finance sector (sound familiar?). Walter Isaacson’s new biography, Elon Musk, which was released Tuesday, reports that Musk and investor Michael Moritz flew to New York soon after to see if they could recruit Giuliani to act as their political fixer and banking policy adviser.
When Musk and Moritz met with Giuliani, “it was like walking into a mob scene,” Moritz says in Isaacson’s biography. Giuliani “was surrounded by goonish confidantes. He didn’t have any idea whatsoever about Silicon Valley, but he and his henchmen were eager to line their pockets.”
“They asked for 10% of the company, and that was the end of the meeting. ‘This guy occupies a different planet,’ Musk told Moritz.”
Giuliani went on to become known as “America’s mayor” after shepherding New York City through the wake of the 9/11 attacks. He then unsuccessfully ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 and eventually became Donald Trump’s personal attorney. While he initially amassed millions as a lawyer, consultant, and public speaker, his finances have been struggling of late.
Trump has refused to pay Giuliani’s legal fees, forcing Giuliani to fly to Mar-a-Lago and beg for Trump to pay up. Giuliani is also struggling to pay his own legal bills as he battles an indictment in Georgia for trying to overturn the 2020 election results.