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White House condemns Elon Musk tweet as ‘abhorrent promotion’ of antisemitism

Elon Musk speaks to reporters as he leaves a Senate bipartisan Artificial Intelligence Insight Forum on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 13.  (Elizabeth Frantz/For The Washington Post)
By Amy B Wang, Will Oremus and Naomi Nix Washington Post

The White House on Friday condemned a social media post by Elon Musk in which he indicated support for an antisemitic conspiracy theory, calling the billionaire’s action an “abhorrent promotion of antisemitic and racist hate.”

Musk, the owner of X, formerly Twitter, was replying to a user on the site who said a rise in online antisemitism was the fault of Jews for supporting “hordes of minorities” and promoting “hatred against whites.” The user said they have no sympathy for Jews who face hateful comments such as “Hitler was right.”

Musk replied, “You have said the actual truth,” helping to amplify the user’s tweet to his vast online following.

In a subsequent tweet, Musk went on to criticize the Anti-Defamation League, a nonprofit that combats antisemitism and extremism, saying it “unjustly attacks the majority of the West” for anti-Jewish hate rather than “the minority groups who are their primary threat.”

White House spokesman Andrew Bates said Friday it was “unacceptable to repeat the hideous lie behind the most fatal act of antisemitism in American history at any time,” referring to a 2018 shooting that killed 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh gunman, who was sentenced to death in August, had shared a large amount of antisemitic content on social media leading up to the attack.

Bates also cited the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas in Israel, the deadliest day for Jewish people since the Holocaust, as another recent atrocity that underscored how inappropriate it was for Musk to post what he did.

“We condemn this abhorrent promotion of antisemitic and racist hate in the strongest terms, which runs against our core values as Americans,” Bates said. “We all have a responsibility to bring people together against hate, and an obligation to speak out against anyone who attacks the dignity of their fellow Americans and compromises the safety of our communities.”

Musk did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The White House condemnation is not the first time there has been a clash between the Biden administration and Musk, the world’s richest man who has become increasingly prominent as a right-wing figure. Musk helped Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) launch his presidential campaign on Twitter Spaces earlier this year, an event plagued by technical glitches, and both DeSantis and Musk blasted the White House after a Pride Day celebration in June.

The statement also comes as X is facing financial fallout around antisemitic content on the Musk-owned social media site. On Thursday, IBM said it will stop advertising on X after a report from a media watchdog organization found that its ads had appeared alongside pro-Nazi tweets.