Was he right to use those words?
On June 15, when Elon Musk was asked who he was leaning towards in the 2024 presidential election, his answer came as a shock to some. The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX stated that he favored Ron DeSantis for president.
Musk, a former supporter of Democrat-turned-Independent Andrew Yang has recently announced he will vote Republican in future, and his comments were seized upon by Republicans as the sort of endorsement that could see DeSantis advancing to the White House in a few years.
Musk - an African-American?
But greater controversy has since followed. During a press conference where Governor DeSantis was announcing the mobilization of the newly established Florida State Guard, he was asked what he thought about the comments from Musk.
The governor paused for a moment and then made his thoughts known:
"I'm focused on 2022, but with Elon Musk what I would say is, you know, I welcome support from African Americans, what can I say?"
His remarks have been applauded and defended by some, who point out that Musk is technically an African American, even if he doesn't conform based on . He was born and grew up in South Africa before becoming an American citizen in 2002.
Critics of Governor DeSantis, including Charlie Crist - one of the Democratic challengers in the forthcoming gubernatorial election - have claimed that this is yet another example of his lack of regard and disdain for African Americans in general. Crist described the remarks made by DeSantis in this matter as being the mark of a "Trump wannabe".
Was DeSantis right (if a little controversial)?
While it's possible to see why the comment from DeSantis may have been taken as controversial and inflammatory, it would appear that he was technically correct. Most current definitions of the term 'African-American' are along the lines of the following, taken from Webster's Dictionary:
"An American of African and especially of Black African descent"
While the word 'especially' is used in the definition, it doesn't state that African Americans are 'exclusively' of Black African descent. It seems then that Governor DeSantis was technically right given Musk's early years were spent in South Africa.
Whether there will be further repercussions from the governor's comments remains to be seen.
Do you think that such debates are useful or is this merely a distraction from the matters at hand for the governor? Do you think his opponents are right to call him out on his choice of words? Let me know in the comments section below.