Elon Musk, the world's richest man, hurled a barrage of insults at Senator Bernie Sanders on Twitter after the senator reiterated his call for billionaires to pay more taxes. Musk even mentioned the possibility of selling additional Tesla Inc. stock, which would entail paying capital gains taxes.
Sanders, who ran for president of the Democratic Party in 2016 and 2020 but lost both times, tweeted on Saturday that "we must insist that the extraordinarily rich pay their fair share." Musk was not mentioned by name.
"I keep forgetting that you're still alive," Musk said, referring to his $286 billion fortune, which has made him a target for wealth tax proponents.
"Want me to sell more shares, Bernie?" Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said in a second tweet early Sunday. Simply speak the word..."
11 hours later, Musk was still tweeting, stating Sanders "is a taker, not a maker."
Last week, Musk sold about $7 billion worth of Tesla stock, causing the automaker's price to drop 15%. Before the start of normal trading on Monday, the stock had dropped as much as 2.9 percent.
Musk began selling shares after polling Twitter followers on whether he should sell. However, some of the trades were made as part of a trading strategy he devised in September, well before he consulted his sizable social media following.
Musk also failed to indicate in his tweets that he had millions of stock options that must be exercised before August 2022, when they will expire. In September, he predicted that "a big chunk" of those options will be exercised before the end of the year.
Continue reading: Elon Musk, according to Big Short's Burry, 'just wants to sell Tesla.'
Musk acknowledged late last year that he had relocated from California to Texas, which has no income tax. Musk revealed on Twitter on Saturday that he has been living in a modest house in South Texas for the past two years. He commented, "It feels more homely to live in a little house."
Sanders, a Vermont independent who joins the Democratic Party in caucus, leads the Senate Budget Committee and has long campaigned for higher taxes on the affluent. He tweeted in March that the fortune gained by Musk and Amazon.com Inc. co-founder Jeff Bezos was "immoral." Senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon and the leader of the Senate Finance Committee, was recently chastised by Musk for advocating for a wealth tax on billionaires.
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