For much of his career, Musk has painstakingly crafted his image, one of being the ultimate protector of the environment who, as a result, is a darling of the left. Why, then, would he risk destroying that image -- his most valuable asset -- by defending Trump? The answer is simple. He doesn't have any choice. His businesses rely on the federal government, and they still don't make money.

After being saved from bankruptcy in 2008 with its first government contract, SpaceX, Musk's space exploration company, has stayed in business only because it received $6.5 billion worth of contracts from the U.S. military and NASA. Since going public in 2012, SolarCity, Musk's solar roof installer, has not had one profitable quarter, despite receiving federal tax credits to help reduce the price of solar panels the company installs. In November 2016, SolarCity was so close to bankruptcy Musk was forced to save it by having Tesla purchase the company in a $2.6 billion all-stock deal.

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