During his first White House press conference since the midterm elections, President Joe Biden found himself stumped when one of the reporters asked him if he thought Tesla owner Elon Musk was a threat to national security and whether his recent acquisition of Twitter should be investigated. 

The reporter asked Biden if he would like to use the resources at his disposal to investigate Musk after he took control of the social networking site along with some foreign nationals, including high-profile diplomats from Saudi Arabia. 

Also read | Elon Musk on Twitter layoffs: No choice when company is losing over $4 million per day

It was clear from Biden’s reaction that he was not expecting the curve ball of a question that was thrown at him. After a bout of nervous laughter, the president seemed to be at a loss for words. 

“I think that… Elon Musk’s … cooperation and/or… technical relationships with other countries… uhh is worthy of being looked at,” Biden finally said, after taking multiple long pauses in between every few words. It almost seemed like the president was carefully choosing his words before saying them. 

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“Whether or not he is doing anything inappropriate – I am not suggesting that – I am suggesting that it’s worth being looked at. That’s all I’ll say. There are a lot of ways,” he added.

Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover

Elon Musk has already fired about half of Twitter’s 7,500 staff members, leaving whole teams completely or almost completely depleted since he took over the company.

According to tweets from fired staff members and sources familiar with the situation the parts of Twitter most impacted by Musk’s cuts include its policy, communications, tweet curation, ethical AI, data science, research, machine learning, social good, accessibility, and even some core engineering teams.  

Also read | Musk’s Twitter likely to get much worse before getting better

Following Musk’s dismissal of Twitter’s senior leadership as soon as he assumed control of the company, more leaders have also been let go, including Arnaud Weber, VP of consumer product engineering, and Tony Haile, a senior director of product in charge of Twitter’s work with news publishers.

Musk’s layoffs started not long after an internal memo that said the company would “go through the difficult process of reducing our global workforce” was sent out. A second unsigned email with the subject line “Your Role at Twitter” informed affected employees of their employment status before they had even noticed they were locked out of their work accounts.