Tesla CEO Elon Musk expressed surprise this week that his company was not invited to the event, while executives from Ford, GM, and Stellantis stood alongside President Biden as he detailed an executive order calling for half of all U.S. car sales to be zero-emission vehicles by 2030.
During her daily press briefing, Psaki was asked to explain why Tesla wasn’t invited to the event, despite its leading role in the electric vehicle industry.
"Well, we, of course, welcome the efforts of all automakers who recognize the potential of an electric vehicle future and support efforts that will help reach the president's goal. And certainly, Tesla is one of those companies," Psaki said. "Today, it's the three largest employers of the United Auto Workers, and the UAW president who will stand with President Biden as he announces his ambitious new target, but I would not expect this is the last time we talk about clean cars, the move toward electric vehicles, and we look forward to having a range of partners in that effort."
When asked if Tesla was omitted from the event because it was not unionized, Psaki again noted that attendees included "the three largest employers of the United Auto Workers."
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"I'll let you draw your own conclusions," she added.
Over the last few years, Musk has spoken out against efforts to unionize Tesla employees at its car plant in Fremont, California. In March, the National Labor Relations Board ordered Musk to delete a 2018 tweet and to reinstate an employee who was fired for labor organization efforts.
Meanwhile, Biden has cultivated close ties with major labor unions since taking office in January. His administration has argued its plan to focus on green energy infrastructure will create millions of high-paying union jobs.
Ford, General Motors and Stellantis executives pledged to aim for 40% to 50% of their U.S. sales to be electric vehicles by 2030. Tesla’s entire lineup is composed of electric vehicles and holds the largest share of that market.
"Yeah, seems odd that Tesla wasn’t invited," Musk wrote on Twitter ahead of the event.