"You have to give [@ElonMusk] credit," President Trump tells @JoeSquawk. "He's one of our great geniuses, and we have to protect our genius.""He's going to be building a very big plant in the United States. He has to, because we help him, so he has to help us." pic.twitter.com/WIlBJS0saEJanuary 22, 2020
President Donald Trump, it seems, is a fan of Elon Musk (opens in new tab).
Trump hailed the SpaceX (opens in new tab) and Tesla CEO in an interview with CNBC's Joe Kernen at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, calling the billionaire tech pioneer a "genius" who ranks alongside the likes of Thomas Edison.
"He's one of our great geniuses and we have to protect our genius," Trump said of Musk while discussing Tesla, the electric car maker, with Kernen. CNBC posted the video online Wednesday (opens in new tab) (Jan. 22).
SpaceX, Musk's private spaceflight company, has also impressed Trump with its regular launches of reusable rockets. The company is also building a new Crew Dragon space taxi for astronauts, as well as a giant Starship rocket for trips to the moon and Mars.
"He likes rockets, and he does good at rockets too, by the way," Trump said. "I never saw — where the engines come down with no wings, no anything and they're landing — I said, 'I've never seen that before.'
"He's one of our very smart people and we want to cherish those people," Trump added. "He's done a very good job."
Trump also marveled at the success of Tesla, which reached a $100 billion market cap for the first time today, according to CNBC (opens in new tab).
"Shocking, how well, how it's come so fast," Trump told Kernen of Telsa's success. "You go a back a year and they were talking about the end of the company, and now all of a sudden, they're talking about these great things."
Trump also said that he expects Musk and Tesla to build another giant manufacturing plant in the United States.
"He has to because we help him," Trump said without elaborating what he meant. "And so he has to help us."
On Sunday (Jan. 19), SpaceX launched a critical in-flight abort flight of its Crew Dragon (opens in new tab) spacecraft to test the spacecraft's emergency escape system to protect astronauts during a rocket emergency. The company plans to launch its fourth batch of Starlink internet satellites on Friday (Jan. 24).
Musk called the Crew Dragon abort test a "picture-perfect" flight (opens in new tab), adding that SpaceX hopes to begin launching astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA in the second quarter of this year.
- SpaceX's Crew Dragon Demo-1 Test Flight in Pictures
- Watch How SpaceX's Crew Dragon Will Launch Astronauts to Space
- SpaceX Fires Up Rocket in Prep for 1st Astronaut Launch