Biden hints at support for investigating Elon Musk & more from news conference
President makes headlines on Twitter deal as well as open suggestion Ukraine should "compromise" with Russia.
President Biden, amid reports investigatory arms of the U.S. government are looking into a possible investigation of Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter, appeared today to support that idea during his post-Election Day news conference.
Although much of the news conference — a surprise addition to Biden’s schedule today after Democrats’ better than expected night — was based on the election results, Biden commented on Elon Musk when asked by Bloomberg’s Jenny Leonard asked about a potential investigation of Twitter’s new owner.
Thanks for reading The Weekly Dystopia! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
If you saw the news conference on TV, you’d notice Biden took a pause before giving his answer, appearing to be careful with his words as he essentially proposed the U.S. government investigating an American citizen upon purchasing a social media company.
Here’s the exchange:
BLOOMBERG: Do you think Elon Musk is a threat to U.S. national security and should the U.S, and with the tools you have investigate his joint acquisition of Twitter with foreign governments which include the Saudis?
I think that Elon Musk's cooperation and technical relationships with other countries is worthy at being looked at. Whether or not he is doing anything inappropriate. I'm not suggesting that. I'm suggesting it’s worth are being looked at, and that's all I'll say.
Notably, Biden in his remarks declined to how Musk should be investigated, apparently leaving that up to the U.S. government bureaucracy. Keep in mind Elon Musk has openly stated he’d be voting Republican in the mid-term election and the day before the election urged voters to do the same to counteract Biden and Democrats.
Media outlets including Bloomberg News and the Washington Post, amid the anxiety on the left over Musk’s purchase of Twitter, had reported various arms of the U.S. government were considering an investigation of Musk, citing potential national security risk of him acquiring Twitter and open admission from the Saudis they continue to own a stake in the social media company.
One such investigatory arm is the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. According to Washington Post, however, whether or not CFIUS has a basis to conduct an investigation is in doubt. Musk is a U.S. citizen and policy experts are divided on whether such a review is warranted.
Also, during the news conference, Biden made news on foreign policy issues the Weekly Dystopia has covered related to Russia and China…
BIDEN ON SIGNALS UKRAINE COMPROMISE WITH RUSSIA: As the election results were coming in on election night, I sent out a post about the new Congress, with the addition of new Republicans like J.D. Vance not being as ironclad as before in continued support for Ukraine as time as goes on.
It’s the not just the new Congress: Biden openly signaled a push for Ukraine to compromise with Russia when the Zeke Miller asked about Vladimir Putin’s withdrawal from the Kherson region.
ASSOCIATED PRESS: Mr. President, Russia today claimed that it evacuated the Kherson region and Kherson city. Do you believe that this is potentially an inflection point in that conflict? And do you believe that Ukraine now has the leverage it needs to begin peace negotiations with Moscow?
BIDEN: First of all, I found it interesting they waited until after the election to make that judgment, which we knew for some time that they were going to do it, and its’ evidence of the fact that have some real problems, the Russian military, number one. Number two, whether or not that leads to — at a minimum will lead to time for everyone to read and calibrate their positions over the winter period. And that remains to be seen whether or not there'll be a judgment made as to whether or not Ukraine is prepared to compromise with Russia.
Biden’s remarks are consistent with a report just days ago in the Washington Post that indicated the U.S. government was privately pushing Ukraine leaders to come to deal with Russia, citing concerns about the coalition against the invasion not being able to stay the course over the long term.
David Singer of The New York Times followed up with Biden on his response, asking what Biden exactly meant by Ukraine compromising with Russia. Biden created some distance between himself and his comment just moments ago: “No I’m not. That's up to the Ukrainians? Nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine.”
Biden, however, went back to the word “compromise” when he sought to reframe his position, saying what he meant was re-evaluation on the part of both Ukraine and Russia after the withdrawal from Kherson.
“I said what's going to happen is they're gonna both lick their wounds, decide what they’re going to do for winter and decide whether or not they're going to compromise. That's what's going to happen, whether or not. I don't know what they're going to do. But I do know one thing: We're not going to tell them what they have to do.”
Side note: Biden in his second response said when talking about the Ukraine invasion Russia was moving out of Fallujah. That’s not in Ukraine. It’s a city in Iraq that was the site of a major military conflict during the U.S. military operations. The New York Times reporter asking him the question had to interrupt Biden for him to correct himself as say he meant Kherson.
BIDEN ON MEETING WITH XI JINPING: China was the subject of another question the posed by Bloomberg News reporter who asked Biden about Elon Musk. Specifically, Jenny Leonard asked Biden about his upcoming trip to Asia and his upcoming meeting with Xi Jinping.
BLOOMBERG: When you meet with President Xi Jinping of China, will you tell him that you're committed to defending Taiwan militarily? And what are you hoping to get out of this meeting that will make it a success? Are you willing to make any concessions to him?
BIDEN: Look, I'm not going to make any fundamental concessions…I've met with him many times. And I told him, I'm looking for competition, not conflict. And so what I want to do with him when we talk is lay out what each of our red lines, understand what he believes to be in the critical national interest of China, what I known to be the critical interest in the United States and to determine whether or not they conflict with one another. And if they do, how to resolve it and how to work it out.
And so, the Taiwan doctrine has not changed at all, from the very beginning. So I'm sure we'll discuss China, excuse me, Taiwan, I'm sure we'll discuss a number of other issues including fair trade and relationships relating to his relationship with other countries in the region. So anyway, there’s a lot to discuss.
Not a lot of news there, although Biden was careful to articulate he wants competition, not conflict, with China. That’s different from his previously stated views he wants to prevent China from its goals in leading the global order toward autocracy.
When Leonard pointed out Biden didn’t answer his question on whether the United States is committed to defend Taiwan, Biden replied, “I’m going to have that conversation with him.” That caginess, however, is consistent with the U.S. policy in having a One China policy while being less than forthright about to coming to the defense of the democracy on its shores.
Another interesting exchange followed when The New York Times asked Biden about a Pentagon report China indicated to increase to more than 1,000 nuclear weapon, which would follow up on Putin’s nuclear weapon threat.
That’s when Biden — with his stutter coming out upon trying to articulate the word “apocalyptic,” forcing him to resolve to say “extremist” — took the opportunity half-jokingly to point out he was criticized for saying Putin could make good on his nuclear threat, but now the media is writing about it. “Kinda fascinating,” Biden added.
Asked by Singer about the need for an arms control deal with China and a potential alliance between Russia and China, Biden threw cold water on one but not the other, apparently to draw on Beijing’s recent distancing from Russia over the Ukraine invasion.
“No and yes. No, I don't there’s a lot of respect that China has for Russia, or for Putin. I don't think they're looking at as particular alliances. Matter of fact, they've been sort of keeping their distance a little bit. I do think that it remains to be seen whether Xi Jinping has decided that — or backed off of his initial judgment that he wanted Ukraine, excuse me, China, to have the most powerful military in the world, as well as the largest economy. And but he's a long way from both. But I think I think talking about nuclear weapons and location a number of them and access is important to discuss.”
BIDEN ON REPUBLICANS: One other thing I wanted to note, Biden just days ago gave a last-pitch speech before Election Day warning the election of Republicans would be a threat to democracy, but changed on his tune during the conference.
When before the election denialism and conspiracy theories from Republicans were responsible for political violence like the assault on Paul Pelosi and the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol, Biden today said political conversations “are becoming more normal becoming more, more — how can I say it? Decent.”
When before “MAGA Republicans,” as Biden and Democrats dubbed the opposing party over its continued links to Donald Trump, were a danger to democracy, Biden now says “they're a minority of the Republican Party.”
“I think the vast majority of the members of the Republican Party we disagree strongly on issues but they're decent, honorable people,” Biden added.
Things sure change before an election when you’re trying to stave off wins from the opposing party, and the day after the election when you’re forced to work with that same party.
Thanks for reading The Weekly Dystopia! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.