Elon Musk is ‘dead right’ to reopen Tesla’s California factory

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CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Tuesday that he sides with Elon Musk in the Tesla CEO’s fight with local officials over reopening the company’s auto manufacturing plant in Alameda County, California, south of San Francisco.

“I think he’s dead right,” Cramer said, in reaction to Musk saying that Tesla restarted production at its Fremont factory on Monday, in violation of a county coronavirus mitigation order against reopening nonessential businesses.

Cramer admitted Musk is a “zealot,” referencing rants about state stay-at-home orders since the company’s first-quarter earnings were released late last month. Musk has described the restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of Covid-19 as fascist, and he urged governments to ease restrictions.

However, the “Mad Money” host, who has erred on the side of caution in commenting on the need to get Americans back to work and prevent further loss of life, said it’s time to open Tesla’s Fremont factory.

Shortly after Cramer’s comments on “Squawk on the Street,” President Donald Trump tweeted that “California should let Tesla & @elonmusk open the plant, NOW. It can be done Fast & Safely!”

On Monday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin backed Musk in a CNBC interview. “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 said.

For Alameda’s part, County Supervisor Scott Haggerty said: “I wish Elon would have waited one more week. So we could have just done this in a methodical fashion that really put people back to work safely.”

Musk, in a tweet confirming the resumption of production, practically dared authorities to arrest him.

Tesla’s Fremont plant had been closed since March 23.

Monday’s restart came days after Tesla sued the Alameda County Health Department seeking to overturn its order and after Musk threatened to move Tesla’s manufacturing operations and headquarters out of California.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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