U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday asked that electric automaker Tesla Inc should be allowed to resume its electric vehicle assembly plant in California, joining the automaker’s CEO Elon Musk’s bid to defy county officials that have ordered the plant to remain closed.
“California should let Tesla & @elonmusk open the plant, NOW. It can be done Fast & Safely!” Trump wrote on Twitter. On Monday, Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk said production was restarting at the automaker’s only U.S. vehicle factory, defying county’s order to stay closed and saying if anyone had to be arrested it should be him.
Tesla shares increased 3% to $835.27 in early trading. The company, which on Saturday sued Alameda County over its decision that the plant should stay closed, did not immediately made a comment on Trump’s tweet.
Trump has talked before about reopening the U.S. economy and for Americans to get back to work.
He has sparred with California for years over a number of issues, including immigration, vehicle fuel efficiency standards, funding for high-speed rail and a number of environmental issues. Trump has met with Musk on several occasions after becoming president.
California Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday stated he talked to Musk several days ago and that the Tesla CEO’s concerns helped prompt the state to start its phased reopening of manufacturing last week.
On Monday, health officials in Alameda County stated they know that Tesla had opened beyond the so-called minimum basic operations permitted during lockdown, and had notified the automaker it could not operate without a county-approved plan.
In January, Trump told to CNBC that Musk is “one of our great geniuses, and we have to protect our genius”.