Elon Musk hurled a vulgar insult at a US senator in a bizarre Twitter exchange over taxes — and the lawmaker’s son jumped in to take the side of the Tesla tycoon.
The dustup started when Sen. Ron Wyden — an Oregon Democrat who has been pushing a wealth tax to help pay for President Biden’s infrastructure spending plans — challenged Musk over taxes.
“Whether or not the world’s wealthiest man pays any taxes at all shouldn’t depend on the results of a Twitter poll,” Sen. Wyden wrote in response to a poll by Musk that asked whether he should sell a big chunk of his Tesla shares for tax reasons.
“It’s time for the Billionaires Income Tax,” Wyden added.
On Sunday, Musk replied with a crude, head-scratcher of an insult, which appeared to be a reference to Sen. Wyden’s profile picture. “Why does ur pp look like u just came?”
After Musk’s cringeworthy reply, the exchange took another surprise twist when Sen. Wyden’s son Adam Wyden, a Miami-based hedge-fund manager, weighed in — ignoring Musk’s insult even as he blasted his dad’s tax agenda.
“Why does he hate us / the American dream so much?!?!?!?!” Wyden Jr. wrote in response to Musk’s tweet. “Reality is: most legislators have never built anything… so I guess it’s easier to mindlessly and haphazardly try and tear stuff down.”
A source close to the younger Wyden said he wasn’t responding to or condoning Musk’s insult on Twitter, but instead “sticking with the issues” in what he believed amounted to a discussion about the wealth tax.
People close to Adam Wyden told The Post he is “aggressive” and “wildly successful” — his hedge fund ADW Capital, is up 40 percent this year. He started the fund despite his father’s wish that he take a job at a traditional corporation like General Electric, the sources added.
“This is not about my father but about doing what’s right,” Adam Wyden told The Post in a brief interview on Monday. “As you have gathered, my father and I do not see eye to eye on tax policy. Like most career politicians, he has not experienced first-hand the highs and lows of building a business.”
“Taxing anyone, even centibilionaires, on theoretical, unrealized wealth, is un-America,” he added. “The ability of CEOs like Elon Musk to continually reinvest in their businesses has delivered the best results in the history of free enterprise.”
Nearly 58 percent of respondents to Musk’s poll answered “yes.” On Monday Musk revealed in a filing he had indeed sold off 10 percent of his stake, worth nearly $21 billion.
Most respondents said “Yes” to Musk’s poll, and on Monday morning he revealed in a filing he had sold 10 percent of his stake, worth $21 billion.
Senator Wyden himself is no stranger to lucrative stock trades. As The Post reported, Wyden’s wife has bought up potentially millions of shares of chip makers like Nvidia at the same time the Senator is pushing legislation like The CHIPS Act that would boost domestic chip makers.
Under Wyden’s wealth tax proposed last month, individuals who make more than $100 million three years in a row or own more than $1 billion in assets would pay a capital gains tax on the appreciation in their assets. The tax did not make it in the 1.2 trillion infrastructure bill passed Friday.
After graduating from University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Adam Wyden moved to New York City to get his MBA from Columbia. He worked as a summer analyst at DE Shaw before taking a job as a banker at SMH Capital in New York.
When asked why he runs his hedge fun out of Miami — rather than New York City where he started career — he said he’d been spending winters in Florida for years.
“The taxes certainly don’t hurt,” he added, referring to Florida’s lower rates.