AMERICAN president Donald Trump has come to the defence of Elon Musk, after the Tesla CEO re-opened the electric car company’s factory in California against local orders in the state.
The eccentric Billionaire (Musk, not Trump) once again found himself in the news after he announced that Tesla would be resuming production. Taking to Twitter, he said that he would be “on the line with everyone else,” and that “if anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me.”
Tesla is restarting production today against Alameda County rules. I will be on the line with everyone else. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 11, 2020
Although California has eased restrictions to allow manufacturing to resume, Alameda County, where Tesla’s Fremont plant is located, has not. Musk, who has been extremely vocal in his criticisms of the coronavirus lockdown, complained that Tesla had been “singled out” by an “unelected county official”, saying that all other auto manufacturers in the country had been allowed to resume production.
In a separate tweet, he called the decision “absurd [and] medically irrational behaviour in violation of constitutional civil liberties.”
Yes, California approved, but an unelected county official illegally overrode. Also, all other auto companies in US are approved to resume. Only Tesla has been singled out. This is super messed up!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 11, 2020
California governor Gavin Newsom had said only hours before Musk’s announcement that he was optimistic Tesla’s production could resume next week.
Trump, who shares Musk’s penchant for announcing views and political decisions on Twitter, has entered the fore, saying it could be done “fast and safely!”
California should let Tesla & @elonmusk open the plant, NOW. It can be done Fast & Safely!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2020
The president is not the only member of the federal government to side with Musk over the issue: the US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said: “I agree with Elon Musk. He’s one of the biggest employers and manufacturers in California, and California should prioritise doing whatever they need to do to solve those health issues so that he can open quickly and safely.”
Musk has reportedly filed a lawsuit against Alameda County regarding the order, but evidently has not waited for a ruling, opting to restart production without permission. According to the BBC, the Alameda County Public Health Department said that it was “actively communicating” with Tesla and that it would apply the same policy it had with all businesses in the area.
Musk remained a free man on Tuesday, according to local reports.
The plant had been closed since March 26 because of the ongoing coronavirus crisis. When asked on Twitter how the resumption of manufacturing had gone, Musk replied succinctly: “Great.”
In an email to employees, Musk said that while the factory was reopening, “If you feel uncomfortable coming back to work at this time, please do not feel obligated to do so. These are difficult times.”
Elon email to Tesla team.
Thank you Tesla team ❤️
Nothing we say can do it justice. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. pic.twitter.com/w19u3GNvqC
— Third Row Tesla Podcast (@thirdrowtesla) May 12, 2020
He also said on Twitter that Tesla would employ the same safety measures as it did when reopening its Shanghai plant.
Musk had previously threatened to move Tesla’s manufacturing operations away from California in order to restart production. He said that the company would move production to Texas or Nevada, and if it decided to remain in California, would only do so pending future treatment by the state.
Frankly, this is the final straw. Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately. If we even retain Fremont manufacturing activity at all, it will be dependen on how Tesla is treated in the future. Tesla is the last carmaker left in CA.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 9, 2020