President Donald Trump waded into Elon Musk’s Tesla drama, and the CEO appreciates the presidential support.
Trump tweeted in favor of Musk’s Fremont, California, plant reopening despite the county’s orders to keep non-essential businesses closed through the month as the coronavirus pandemic rages on. The state opened up manufacturing businesses on Friday, but California Gov. Gavin Newsom made clear that he’s ceding deciding power to each individual county on how to handle shelter-in-place orders.
This does not sit well with Musk, who has made clear on podcasts and by way of Twitter temper-tantrums that he believes economic health is more important than public health. Trump agrees with Musk’s stance. Trump tweeted, “California should let Tesla [and Elon Musk] open the plant, NOW. It can be done Fast & Safely!”
Hours later, Musk responded to the commander-in-chief with a brief and enthusiastic, “Thank you!”
Earlier, Musk had claimed he would take the fall and get arrested once workers returned to the car factory despite county orders. Over the weekend, Tesla released a “playbook” outlining how it would return to work safely. But Tesla workers don’t have much of a choice in the matter.
In an email The Guardian reporters obtained, the company wrote, “If you do not feel comfortable coming into work, you can stay home and will be on unpaid leave. Choosing not to report to work may eliminate or reduce your eligibility for unemployment depending on your state’s unemployment agency.”
Tesla has sued the county for blocking the factory’s reopening until June. Meanwhile, pro-business groups like the California Business and Industrial Alliance took out a full-page ad in the San Diego Union-Tribune to support Tesla and Musk. Riffing off a tweet California state assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez directed at Musk, the ad says in a large font,”Who’s really f***king California?“
Musk’s fight to reopen Tesla is getting colorful.