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Elon Musk mocks President Biden after SpaceX completes first all-civilian mission


SpaceX CEO Elon Musk poses with the crew before launch on September 15, 2021.

John Kraus / Inspiration4

After SpaceX completed a historic, private spaceflight on Saturday, CEO Elon Musk took a pot shot at President Joe Biden who had yet to remark on the company’s and the civilian flight crew’s accomplishments.

Musk had 60 million Twitter followers and was asked: “The President has not even acknowledged the 4 new American astronauts who raised hundreds of millions for St. Jude.” Is that why?

Musk responded, “He’s still asleep.”

As CNBC previously reported, SpaceX safely returned its Crew Dragon spacecraft from orbit yesterday. After three days spent in orbit, the capsule brought the Inspiration4 team back to Earth.

The Inspiration4 mission had one major objective: to raise $200m for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The campaign had raised $160.2 millions by Saturday. Celebrating after Inspiration4 splashed down, Musk pledged to contribute $50 million personally — pushing the campaign’s total raised to $210 million.

SpaceX and White House didn’t immediately reply to requests for comment.

NASA top brass congratulated Musk & SpaceX for the Inspiration4 mission. SpaceX competitors acknowledged it too, with accolades from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Blue Origin and Musk’s peer and rival Jeff Bezos shared on social media.

This was the first SpaceX-private spaceflight. It involved a crew of non-professionals. The mission also featured the first Black female spacecraft pilot and astronaut, as well as the youngest American woman to be an astronaut. It was also the first time a person with prosthetics flew in space.

Although Musk recently stated that he “would prefer to stay out of politics,” his quip on Sunday indicated a willingness to needle the Democratic president and repeat a right-wing taunt about Biden.

During his 2020 campaign, former President Donald Trump frequently insulted then-candidate Biden by calling him “Sleepy Joe.”

More recently, Trump sent Biden sarcastic well-wishes ahead of a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in June. He said in an e-mailed statement at the time, “Good luck to Biden in dealing with President Putin— don’t fall asleep during the meeting, and please give him my warmest regards!”

SpaceX enjoys good relations with the federal government. For example, it won a $2.89 billion contract to build NASA’s next crewed lunar lander, beating out Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Leidos subsidiary Dynetics, and SpaceX has flown 10 astronauts to the ISS for NASA to date. 

However, SpaceX is also under investigation by the Department of Justice after accusations that it discriminated against job applicants based on citizenship status — a probe that began during the Trump administration.

In addition to his responsibilities at SpaceX, Musk is concurrently the CEO of electric vehicle makers Tesla. (Tesla is also a supplier to SpaceX.)

Recently, Tesla lamented a Biden administration proposal which would provide an additional $4,500 to encourage the purchase of electric light-duty passenger vehicle. One stipulation of the proposal is that electric vehicles should be union-made, domestically.

The company has a Nevada battery factory and an assembly plant for vehicles in California. Another is under construction in Texas. However, Tesla is America’s only automaker that isn’t unionized.

Musk stated on Twitter that the proposal was written by Ford/UAW lobbyists as their electric vehicle is being made in Mexico. This is not obvious to American taxpayers.

In’s annual American Made Index for 2021, Tesla’s popular Model 3 electric sedan topped the rankings, and its crossover Model Y landed in third place.