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President Trump on Tuesday gave his backing to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, calling on California to allow Musk to reopen his plant in the northern part of the state despite concerns over safety due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“California should let Tesla & @elonmusk open the plant, NOW. It can be done Fast & Safely!” Trump tweeted.
Musk said Monday he was opening the Fremont, Calif. facility, in breach of county stay-at-home rules.
Musk tweeted, “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.”
He also wrote: “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!”
The move comes amid growing pushback and frustration to lingering stay-at-home orders that have devastated businesses and sent the economy into freefall — a frustration that Trump has often shared and sympathized with.
“Our Testing is the BEST in the World, by FAR! Numbers are coming down in most parts of our Country, which wants to open and get going again. It is happening, safely!” he tweeted earlier Tuesday.
At a Monday news conference, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, said he was hopeful the company could resume operations next week.
“We recognize localism, both from a county, previous questions about if a county wants to go further, and other counties that don't want to even go as far as the state, which is the case in Alameda County,” he said. “My understanding is they have had some very constructive conversations with the folks at that facility, the county health director. They're working to focus on the health and safety of the employees at that facility.”
Newsom announced last week that manufacturing facilities could be reopened. However, Tesla was informed by the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency that it would have to wait until its return-to-work plan was approved, prompting outrage from Musk, who called the restrictions fascist and unconstitutional.
Fox News’ Louis Casiano and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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