Elon Musk ruthlessly cleaned house of any Tesla workers who disagreed or got in his way, a new book says

Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

  • A new book details numerous instances where Elon Musk appears to “rage-fire” employees.
  • The CEO created an environment where workers who disagreed with him were swiftly ousted, the book says.
  • In the past, Musk has denied allegations that he goes on such firing sprees.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has denied allegations in the past that he has a propensity for rage firing people, but a new book tells a different story.

“Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk, and the Bet of the Century,” by The Wall Street Journal’s Tim Higgins details numerous instances when the CEO appeared to fire employees and contractors out of sheer anger.

The book, released on Tuesday, reveals that Musk developed an atmosphere of fear in Tesla and SpaceX – an environment where the billionaire had a reputation for exploding at top executives and employees on the assembly line alike.

In 2006, ahead of Tesla’s first Roadster reveal party, Musk had his head of marketing Jessica Switzer, as well as a public relations firm, ousted because he was unhappy with Switzer’s decision to spend money on marketing. Higgins said Musk thought his name alone would be enough to incite interest in the vehicle.

Shortly after the executive’s departure, Musk threatened to fire another PR which was later hired to take on the Roadster reveal, citing his anger over a New York Times story on Tesla that did not mention Musk.

“I was incredibly insulted and embarrassed by the NY Times article,” Musk emailed the firm. “If anything like this happens again, please consider [your] relationship with Tesla to end immediately upon publication of such a piece.”

Mark Goldberg, a Morgan Stanley banker that helped take Tesla public in 2010, told Higgins that Musk repeatedly threatened to fire bankers from Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs before Tesla’s IPO launch in 2010.

“I don’t have time for this,” Elon Musk reportedly yelled during an episode. “I’ve got to launch the f—— rocket!”

Musk’s fury caused several executives to leave the company, Higgins said. Peter Rawlinson, the executive leading the development of the Model S, left Tesla after a series of spats with Musk. Musk put pressure on CFO Deepak Ahuja and Rawlinson’s key deputy Nick Sampson to bring Rawlinson back to the company. When they couldn’t, Musk fired Sampson in a fit.

Later, Tesla found itself without the heads of its manufacturing department ahead of the Tesla Model 3 launch due to Musk’s ire. The CEO went into a rage during a factory visit over issues with the Model X’s window. When a worker on the assembly line proposed a solution, Musk lit into the worker’s manager.

“This is totally unacceptable that you had a person working in your factory that knows the solution and you don’t even know that,” Musk reportedly said before firing the head of the factory.

Higgins writes that when an employee disagreed with the CEO they were often fired. For example, a paint shop manager was fired on the spot when he told Musk his production goals were not possible, and Kate Pearson, an executive in charge of delivery operations, was ousted for saying it was not feasible to hit Tesla’s delivery goal of 100,000 during the quarter.

By 2017, Musk began flying to Tesla’s Gigafactory to frequently address issues that often led to verbal spats. Longtime Tesla employees told Higgins Musk’s fury was unpredictable and often focused on public humiliation.

“He’d always been quick to fire people, but it had historically been through managers, not in person,” Higgins wrote. “Now it might be whomever he came across on the factory floor.”

Tesla did not respond to Insider’s request for comment. Ahead of the book’s release, Musk disputed some of the claims in Higgin’s book, calling them “false” on Twitter. Last month, Musk denied assertions he rage-fires employees, saying he gives “clear and frank” feedback.

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Mark Milley thought Stephen Miller was ‘a Rasputin character, always whispering devilish ideas in the king’s ear,’ new book says

stephen miller mark milley
According to a new book, there was tension between Trump adviser Stephen Miller (left) and Gen. Mark Milley (right) that exploded during a meeting on how to handle the George Floyd protests.

  • Gen. Mark Milley thought of Trump advisor Stephen Miller as “a Rasputin character,” per a new book.
  • “I Alone Can Fix It” details a conflict between Milley and Miller over the George Floyd protests.
  • Milley told Miller to “shut the f— up” when the latter suggested to Trump that protesters were “burning the country down,” per the book.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Gen. Mark Milley thought of Trump advisor Stephen Miller as “a Rasputin character, always whispering devilish ideas in the king’s ear,” according to a new book about the last days of the Trump administration.

According to an excerpt from “I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year” by Washington Post journalists Carol Leonnig and Phillip Rucker, Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, confided in aides about his strong feelings regarding Miller.

Milley likened Miller to the villainous Grigori Rasputin, an influential Russian political figure also called the “Mad Monk,” who held significant influence over the last Tsar, Nicholas II, and his family. The self-professed holy man was later murdered by aristocrats.

According to Leonnig and Rucker, this tension between Milley and Miller, who was then senior adviser for policy and the White House director for speechwriting, came to the fore during the George Floyd protests last summer.

The book details a tense exchange between the two men, highlighting how Milley was particularly aggravated when Miller asked Trump to use armed troops to quell the protests.

“Mr. President, you have to show strength. They’re burning the country down,” the book claims Miller said during a meeting with the former president.

Per the book, it was at that point that Milley “whipped his head around” and castigated Miller, saying: “Stephen, shut the f— up. They’re not burning the f—ing country down.”

The book further claims that throughout this exchange, Trump watched the two “silently and eagerly, as if the argument between his advisers were a pay-per-view fight on HBO.”

The office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Miller did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Trump denied he ever discussed deploying the military during the 2020 George Floyd protests with Milley in a statement released on July 16.

“Despite the fact that the 2020 Presidential Election was Rigged and Stolen, and while numerous people, including the outside public, were saying we should bring in the Military, I never even gave it a thought,” Trump wrote in the statement.

“Never once did I have a discussion with him about bringing in the Military, or a ‘coup,'” Trump added.

Trump has also hit out at Milley on a separate issue. On July 15, Trump released a long statement responding to claims that Milley was worried that he would plan a coup to overthrow the government. Writing that he’s “not into coups,” Trump added that even if he was, he “wouldn’t want to commit one with Gen. Mark Milley.”

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Mike Pence refused to leave the Capitol during the riot despite Secret Service agents urging him to evacuate, saying, ‘I’m not getting in the car’: book

mike pence
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence presides over a joint session of Congress on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden’s 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. A group of Republican senators said they would reject the Electoral College votes of several states unless Congress appointed a commission to audit the election results.

  • Pence did not want to leave the Capitol as rioters stormed the building on January 6, a new book says.
  • “I Alone Can Fix It” reveals how Pence wanted Congress to return to finish the electoral certification.
  • “We can’t let the world see that our process of confirming the next president can be delayed,” he said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Former Vice President Mike Pence refused to leave the Capitol as rioters stormed the building on January 6, according to a forthcoming book by Washington Post reporters Philip Rucker and Carol D. Leonnig.

The authors provide a behind-the-scenes account of the Capitol insurrection in their new book, “I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year,” which is slated for release on Tuesday. The Post published an excerpt of the book on Thursday.

Presiding over a joint session of Congress, Pence was leading the certification of the 2020 election results, a constitutional duty that former President Donald Trump wanted him to abandon based on false claims that the race was stolen. The certification started around 1 p.m. on January 6.

When a crowd of Trump supporters breached the Capitol complex about an hour into the certification process, Secret Service agents swiftly escorted Pence to his ceremonial office near the Senate floor, the book said. But Pence’s security detail was worried for his safety because the room they were in had glass windows that rioters could potentially break, the authors wrote.

Tim Giebels, Pence’s lead security agent, asked the former vice president “twice” to evacuate the building, the book says. But Pence did not want to bow down to the rioters and flee the scene, according to the book.

“I’m not leaving the Capitol,” he reportedly told Giebels.

Giebels tried a third time, telling Pence that: “The room you’re in is not secure.”

“I need to move you. We’re going,” Giebels added, per the book.

The protective detail then ushered Pence, along with his wife Karen, daughter Charlotte, and his brother, Rep. Greg Pence of Indiana, down a staircase to the former vice president’s armored limousine, where they could “hold” up, the book says.

Pence refused to get in the car. “I trust you, Tim, but you’re not driving the car,” Pence reportedly told Giebels. “If I get in that vehicle, you guys are taking off. I’m not getting in the car.”

Pence and his family then waited out the riot from an underground but undisclosed location inside the Capitol, the authors wrote. He was adamant that Congress finish its work that same night, the book says.

“We need to get back tonight,” Pence reportedly told top lawmakers and defense officials on a call. “We can’t let the world see that our process of confirming the next president can be delayed.”

Congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell also wanted to stand their ground against the the rioters and complete the election certification, the book says. The top Democrat and Republican as well as fellow leaders Chuck Schumer and Kevin McCarthy were transported from the Capitol to Fort McNair, an Army post in Southwest Washington, during the chaos, per the book.

“We’re going back to the Capitol,” Pelosi reportedly said on the call. “You just tell us how long it will take to get rid of these people.”

“I want it cleared out now. The Senate needs to get its business done,” McConnell also said, according to the book.

Congress reconvened and Pence returned to the chamber at 8:06 p.m., the authors wrote. They certified President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory at 3:24 a.m. on January 7.

Trump did not personally check in on Pence at any point during the riot, the book reported.

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Trump blamed getting COVID on Chris Christie and ‘tried to duck’ from his ‘spittle’ during debate prep, book says

Chris Christie Donald Trump.
Chris Christie, left, and Donald Trump.

  • Trump was “convinced” that Chris Christie gave him COVID-19, according to a new book.
  • Trump had “seen the spittle” come out of Christie’s mouth and “tried to duck from the droplets.”
  • It’s unclear how Trump contracted the disease.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Former President Donald Trump believed that he contracted COVID-19 last October from ex-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, according to a forthcoming book by journalist Michael Wolff.

Shortly before Trump announced he tested positive coronavirus on October 2, he worked with Christie to prepare for the September 29 presidential debate against Joe Biden.

Trump, a self-described germaphobe, had “seen the spittle” come out of Christie’s mouth and “tried to duck from the droplets” as they sat across from each other at practice debate sessions, Wolff wrote in his book, “Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency.”

Trump later blamed his exposure to COVID-19 on Christie, who tested positive around the same time as him and battled the virus for a week in the ICU.

It’s unclear exactly how the virus spread to Trump. But he was furious with Christie following a final debate session in which Christie had assumed the role of Biden and attacked Trump, according to the book.

“You have blood on your hands,” Christie reportedly told Trump. “You’re a complete failure. All these people have died from the virus. And it’s your fault.”

Christie, still playing Biden, also pointed out that Trump had criticized Biden’s son, Hunter, while his own family was “full of problems,” the book said.

Trump became “clearly agitated” at the practice strategy and had his “arms tightly crossed,” Wolff wrote. He said that Christie attacked him “like he meant it,” per the book.

Whether or not Christie gave coronavirus to Trump, the former president was “convinced” that he did, Wolff wrote.

The pair’s relationship eventually fell apart. After their bouts with COVID-19, Christie went on to criticize Trump’s handling of the pandemic in the country.

Christie told the New York Times last October that he was “wrong” to have trusted the White House grounds was a “safe zone” and that he should have worn a mask.

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Trump boasts that he’s ‘writing like crazy’ and working on ‘the book of all books’

Former President Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower in Manhattan on May 18, 2021.

  • Former President Donald Trump announced on Friday he’s writing a book.
  • “When the time comes, you’ll see the book of all books,” he said.
  • Presidents typically publish a memoir after they leave office.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Former President Donald Trump on Friday announced a new personal project he’s working on: a book.

“I’m writing like crazy,” Trump said in a statement released through his leadership PAC, “and when the time comes, you’ll see the book of all books.”

Trump claimed he has turned down two book deals “from the most unlikely of publishers.” He did not provide any further details.

“I do not want to do such a deal right now,” he said.

Trump also teased he’s currently “working on a much more important project” but did not disclose more information.

Once an avid tweeter, Trump was booted from social media platforms Twitter and Facebook in the aftermath of the Capitol insurrection on January 6. Facebook announced last week the company will uphold Trump’s ban until at least January 2023.

Trump now communicates to the public through his leadership PAC, dubbed Save America, regularly putting out short, strongly worded statements, similar to how he’d tweet. The former president also launched a blog, called “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump,” which he shut down after less than a month.

Since he left the White House, Trump has reportedly met with several prominent journalists to conduct interviews for forthcoming books about his presidency.

“We are not discussing particulars of any individual book interviews that President Trump is giving but it’s safe to say that he remains the hottest name in politics and he’s the interview that everyone wants,” Jason Miller, Trump’s spokesperson, told Politico in March. “We’re tracking nearly three dozen post-presidency books where he will be the star.”

Former presidents typically release a memoir in the years after they leave office, providing big business for publishers. Barack Obama’s book, “A Promised Land,” was published in November and sold more than 3 million copies in its first month. George W. Bush’s memoir, “Decision Points,” came out in 2010 and became a New York Times bestseller.

Before he was commander-in-chief, Trump had his name on more than a dozen books related to real estate and business.

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Trump called Biden a ‘mental r—–‘ while struggling in the polls in early 2020, according to a new book

donald trump
In this Nov. 26, 2020, photo, President Donald Trump speaks with reporters after participating in a video teleconference call with members of the military on Thanksgiving, at the White House in Washington. Trump has delivered a 46-minute diatribe against the election results that produced a win for Democrat Joe Biden, unspooling one misstatement after another to back his baseless claim that he really won.

  • Trump vented about his position in the 2020 polls early last year, according to a new book.
  • Trump interrupted a policy meeting at the White House and called Biden a “mental r—–.”
  • At the time Trump had been lagging behind Biden in the polls.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Former President Donald Trump interrupted a policy meeting in the Oval Office in early 2020 to vent about his position in the polls and attack then-Democratic candidate Joe Biden, according to a new book.

“How am I losing in the polls to a mental r—–?” Trump said at the time, per an excerpt of a forthcoming book by Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender published on Monday in Vanity Fair.

The book, titled “Frankly, We Did Win This Election”: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost,” provides a deeper look into Trump’s election loss last year leading up to the Capitol insurrection on January 6. Bender reported extensively on the subject and met with Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort at least twice for the book, which will hit stores in August.

At the time of trump’s reported slur, Biden consistently outpaced Trump in national polls, according to averages compiled by FiveThirtyEight and Real Clear Politics.

Throughout the campaign, Trump and his Republican allies repeatedly attacked Biden’s mental acuity and tried to paint him as mentally unfit to become president. The Trump campaign ran ads attempting to undermine Biden’s cognitive abilities, showing clips of him stuttering during speeches. On the campaign trail, Biden opened up about his struggles of growing up with a stutter.

By August, Trump had challenged his Democratic opponent to take a cognitive test, which Biden firmly rejected. “Why the hell would I take a test?” he told a reporter at the time, scoffing.

According to polling by Insider in February, most Americans think Biden, now 78, is mentally fit for the job.

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A children’s picture book about Dr. Anthony Fauci is set to publish June, chronicling his rise from inquisitive kid to working alongside 7 US presidents

fauci niaid
Dr. Anthony Fauci in Washington DC on February 25, 2021.

  • A children’s picture book about the life of Anthony Fauci, the US’s top doctor, is set to publish June.
  • It is written by Kate Messner and based on interviews with Fauci. Simon & Schuster is the publisher.
  • It tells Fauci’s life story, from his Brooklyn childhood to working with seven US presidents, Messner said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A children’s book about the life of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious-diseases expert, is set to be published June 29, publisher Simon & Schuster said Sunday.

The book, titled “How a boy from Brooklyn became America’s doctor,” will detail Fauci’s life from his childhood in New York through medical school, to ultimately working alongside seven US presidents, including President Joe Biden, the publisher said.

“His father and immigrant grandfather taught Anthony to ask questions, consider all the data, and never give up – and Anthony’s ability to stay curious and to communicate with people would serve him his entire life,” the book description says.

Kate Messner, the book’s author, told CNN Business that “before Tony Fauci was America’s doctor, he was a kid with a million questions, about everything from the tropical fish in his bedroom to the things he was taught in Sunday school.”

The book is based on Messner’s interviews with Fauci, as well as Fauci’s public appearances, she said. It’s illustrated by Alexandra Bye, a freelance illustrator. Messner revealed the book’s front cover on Twitter Sunday.

“I was aware that I was asking for time from someone who was literally one of the busiest people in America as he provided public health guidance during the worst of the pandemic, but I also knew that Dr. Fauci understands how essential education is in public health,” Messner told CNN Business.

The book includes facts about how COVID-19 vaccines work, and Fauci’s tips for future scientists, according to its description.

“I’m really hopeful that curious kids who read this book – those we’re counting on to solve tomorrow’s scientific challenges – will see themselves in the pages of Dr. Fauci’s story and set their goals just as high,” Messner added.

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