President Donald Trump speaks during a press briefing in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Monday, May 11, 2020.
Oliver Contreras | Sipa | Bloomberg
President Donald Trump on Tuesday defended Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s calls to resume production at its Fremont, California, plant.
Musk has been pushing to resume its California production that had closed March 23 due to the pandemic.Though attempts to return have been met with heavy resistance from local authorities.
On Monday, local TV broadcasters showed employees’ cars streaming into the company’s parking lots. Musk also tweeted a confirmation that Tesla had resumed production Monday afternoon, and dared the local sheriff’s office to arrest him.
On Monday afternoon, the Alameda County Sheriff and Alameda County Public Health Care Services Agency said in a statement: “Today, May 11, we learned that the Tesla factory in Fremont had opened beyond Minimum Basic Operations. We have notified Tesla that they can only maintain Minimum Basic Operations until we have an approved plan that can be implemented in accordance with the local public health Order.”
Musk threatened Saturday to pull Tesla out of California amid a dispute with Alameda County over the shutdown. Tesla also filed a lawsuit against the county, asking a federal court to invalidate orders by local authorities that have prevented the automaker from resuming production.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin backed Musk on Monday, telling CNBC that California should help the company reopen its plant there amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I agree with Elon Musk. He’s one of the biggest employers and manufacturers in California, and California should prioritize doing whatever they need to do to solve those health issues so that he can open quickly and safely,” Mnuchin told CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.”
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