Billionaire Elon Musk delved into German politics on Friday by sharing a post that denounced the country’s handling of migrants and giving kudos to the nation’s far-right party, Alternative for Germany.
Video clips on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, appear to show German non-government organizations rescuing migrants crossing the Mediterranean and bringing them to Italy. Musk responded to a video of the rescues, posted by an account called “RadioGenoa,” asking, “Is the German public aware of this?”
Germany’s Foreign Office wasted no time in responding to Musk’s comment. “Yes. And it’s called saving lives,” wrote the office’s account on X.
“So you’re actually proud of it. Interesting,” Musk replied, before expressing doubt that the German public supports migrant rescue. The video had “invasion vibes,” he added, invoking a characterization of immigration that has long existed in white nationalist circles.
The source of the controversy—and Musk’s latest foray into international politics—is a German plan to finance charities aiding migrants crossing the Mediterranean, which its foreign ministry has called a “legal, humanitarian and moral duty.” It is unclear whether the clip Musk responded to is of a charity financed by the German government.
The plan drew criticism from Italian Prime Minister Georgia Meloni, leader of the country’s post-fascist Fratelli d’Italia party, whose tenure has been marked by anti-migrant rhetoric and policy. Early last week, Meloni wrote to German Prime Minister Olaf Scholz to express her “astonishment” that the German government was funding nonprofit rescue operations. Musk met with Meloni in Rome in June during a tour of Europe.
This year, more than 2,500 people have died or gone missing during the perilous cross from northern Africa to southern Europe, a steep rise from last year. Over 200,000 people have applied for asylum in Germany so far this year, an increase of 77 percent from 2022.
Musk’s comments came a day after he visited the Texas border to meet with local politicians and law enforcement at Eagle Pass, which has seen a sharp increase in unauthorized border crossings.
“The (USA) border needs to be secured. This is not a partisan issue – even the elected Democrat Party leaders of New York are saying this is a severe crisis,” Musk wrote on Wednesday, referencing New York City Mayor Eric Adams, who said recently that the migrant crisis “will destroy” the city.
Musk’s Tesla operates factories in both Germany and Texas.