Elon Musk plans to ‘vote Republican’ and warns of political attacks on him

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<span>Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Elon Musk said on Twitter that he plans to “vote Republican” and warned of “political attacks” on him, the latest in a series of tweets from the billionaire expressing discontent with Democrats and progressives.

Musk’s tweet comes as the Tesla CEO shocked markets this week by announcing his $44bn deal to purchase Twitter was on hold as he awaited further data on fake and spam accounts on the social media platform.

Analysts have speculated the Tesla executive is seeking to back out of his Twitter takeover plans, or buy the company at a lower price. His tweets since – including that he was buying the platform to “own the libs” – have attracted further controversy.

Related: What are Elon Musk’s options in the Twitter takeover deal?

On Wednesday, Musk warned that political attacks against him would “escalate” in the coming months and said he will no longer support Democrats because they were the party of “division” and “hate”. Musk, who says he is politically “moderate”, made a similar claim earlier this week, stating that he had long backed Democrats, but would now vote for Republicans.

Musk has become increasingly critical of Joe Biden, who he has accused of snubbing his electric car company Tesla. He has also moved his home and company headquarters from California to Texas, where, unlike the Golden state, there is no state income tax.

The Tesla CEO has also long faced scrutiny from federal regulators. Musk is reportedly being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission for not reporting his 5% stake in Twitter soon enough, the Wall Street Journal reported. And he was previously penalized by the SEC over 2018 tweets in which he said he had “secured funding” to take Tesla private

Musk has claimed that Twitter has a “very far-left” bias and that he plans to bring balance to the platform. He has also said he will reinstate Donald Trump, whom Twitter permanently banned after finding his tweets were “highly likely to encourage and inspire people to replicate the criminal acts” that took place in the January 6 Capitol attack.

The billionaire’s tweets have rocked Twitter’s share price and fueled speculation about his motivations. This week he sent a poop emoji in response to Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal’s tweets about spam. Musk suggested earlier this week that he could seek a lower price for the company because of the fake accounts.

“It really depends on a lot of factors here,” he said. “I’m still waiting for some sort of logical explanation for the number of sort of fake or spam accounts on Twitter. And Twitter is refusing to tell us. This seems like a strange thing.”

Musk’s agreement to buy Twitter is legally binding, and he could face a $1bn break fee for walking away.

“Twitter is committed to completing the transaction on the agreed price and terms as promptly as practicable,” the company said in a statement on Tuesday.