MSNBC Interviews Yellen

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MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell recently interviewed Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen about the potential risks posed by billionaire Elon Musk’s close ties to China. Mitchell cited a New York Times report that detailed Musk’s extensive business dealings and contracts with the Chinese government, including his Tesla factory in Shanghai and his defense contracts with the U.S. government.

Mitchell expressed concern about the level of reliance the U.S. government has on Musk, particularly given his recent meeting with top Chinese officials. She asked if it posed a national security threat for one entrepreneur to have so much influence and access to government contracts and key technologies like satellites and rockets.

In her response, Yellen acknowledged the importance of protecting national security but also emphasized the need for a robust economic relationship with China. She noted that many American companies operate and profit in China and that competition between the two countries can be beneficial.

“Well, look, we take national security very seriously and want to protect our national security,” she said. “Our desire is not to shut down economic relations with China. We want to diversify our supply chains, but many American firms operate in China and gain from the ability to sell to China’s large market.”

However, Yellen also expressed concerns about China’s unfair trade practices and their impact on American businesses. She urged a level playing field and the need to diversify supply chains to reduce reliance on China.

“China obviously sells a lot in the United States and the competition among our firms is by and large a healthy thing,” Yellen added. “We want to stabilize that relationship, not shut it down. But also, we need to make sure that the playing field is level, and we are concerned about Chinese subsidies and the impact on our firms.”

Musk’s SpaceX has recently entered into a $1.8 billion contract with an unnamed U.S. agency, and his company, Tesla, has manufactured 2 million cars in China. In addition, Musk has reportedly expressed caution in criticizing China and has met with top Chinese officials.

This has raised red flags for some, including presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy who has accused Musk of being “in China’s pocket.” Critics fear that such close ties could compromise national security and give China an advantage in key industries.

The Biden administration has also launched several investigations into Musk’s business dealings, particularly since his acquisition of Twitter in 2022. The concern is that his social media platform, now known as “X,” could potentially be used for Chinese propaganda and disinformation.

However, it’s important to note the hypocrisy as Biden himself posted on TikTok, a known social media company with ties to China. One that our own government has sactioned against.