Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz plucked a quote from MAGA roustabout Steve Bannon‘s interview on the TimCast podcast and tweeted it out to his 2.2M followers. The target of Gaetz’s Bannon-based aspersion is South African-born billionaire Elon Musk, owner of Tesla, SpaceX, Twitter and more — and among the richest people in the world.
Gaetz quotes Bannon saying “Elon Musk is a total and complete phony. He is owned – lock, stock, and barrel – by the Chinese Communist Party, and he acts like it.” Here’s Bannon in conversation.
“@ElonMusk is a total and complete phony. He is owned – lock, stock, and barrel – by the Chinese Communist Party, and he acts like it.”— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) March 11, 2023
–Steve Bannon on @Timcast IRL
Musk and Tesla, like all American companies doing business in China, are forced into deferential positions by the onerous requirements of the CCP, but Bannon’s assertion that Musk is “owned” by Chinese Communist Party touches on the edge of conspiracy theory.
[Note: “A conspiracy theory is an explanation for an event or situation that asserts the existence of a conspiracy by powerful and sinister groups, often political in motivation.”]
Evidence that Musk is a China Communist Party pawn is so far scarce. But when Bannon says that Musk “acts like it,” Musk’s recent online behavior can be referenced to back that part of his claim. One of the main goals of Chinese (and Russian) propogandists is sowing public distrust by routinely undermining America’s critical institutions. Correctly or not, Musk regularly practices stoking such distrust, though there’s no evidence he’s acting on China’s behalf when doing it.
Musk has been making a play at populism, but it’s clear that Bannon and other prominent America First exponents aren’t ready to let him wriggle his way out of his very secure station among the “globalist elite.”
Musk or not, Gaetz is otherwise convinced China is (proverbially) sleeping under his bed, and there is plenty of growing evidence that China has stepped up its already considerable espionage efforts in the US.
Here’s Gaetz sharing a story about how “China is operating an intelligence-gathering platform masquerading as an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.”
BREAKING: China is operating an intelligence-gathering platform masquerading as an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) March 8, 2023
Meanwhile, America’s Gulf Test Range, where we test military capabilities to defeat China, is currently shut down due to the “discovery” of 51 whales.
A serious… https://t.co/6LUl4laHWD pic.twitter.com/R1bRH6pCjG