Tesla's Elon Musk rails against government coronavirus mandates

The billionaire slammed the government for coronavirus stay- at-home orders

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk summed up his feeling and "outrage" about the government-mandated U.S. coronavirus closings and restrictions every American is dealing with as "fascist" during a cuss-filled rant on the company's earnings call Wednesday evening.

"The extent of shelter in place or frankly what I would call it forcibly imprisoning people in their homes is against all their constitutional rights ... and erasing peoples freedoms in ways that are horrible and wrong and not why people came to America or built this country, what the f--k," Musk lamented before excusing himself for the curse.

"It will cause great harm not just to Tesla but to many companies and while Tesla will weather the storm, there are many small companies that will not," he warned. "Everything that people worked for their whole life is being destroyed in real-time."

An order in the six-county San Francisco Bay Area, where the carmaker conducts the bulk of its production, forced Tesla to close that plant starting March 23 to help prevent the virus's spread, and it was extended until the end of May.

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Musk was fired up earlier in the day, tweeting "FREE AMERICA NOW."

That prompted Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn to fire off her own rebuttal bashing the billionaire.

"Billionaires want to continue profiting off your labor even if it means risking millions of lives," Omar wrote. "They call this 'freedom.'"

Musk sounded off even though Tesla managed to produce its third straight quarterly profit, navigating the negative impact the coronavirus closings are having on other industries.

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Still, profits on an adjusted basis came in at $1.24 per share, beating Wall Street's expectations for a loss. Total revenues were $5.9 billion.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
TSLATESLA INC.567.60-18.16-3.10%

"Although impacted by inefficiencies related to the temporary suspension of production and deliveries in many locations, our gross margin remained strong," the company stated. "At Gigifactory Shanghai, further volume growth resulted in a material improvement in margins of locally made Model 3 vehicles. In addition, Model Y contributed profits, which is the first time in our history that a new product has been profitable in the first quarter."

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Shares rocketed higher in the extended session Wednesday rising over 9 percent, pushing the company's market cap closer to $100 billion and setting Musk up for a big payday.

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If and when that figure nabs $100 billion, Musk has an option to buy 1.69 million shares of Tesla stock for $350.02 per share.

But for the options to vest, the market capitalization has to average above $100 billion for the next six months, and it has to be above $100 billion for the next 30 business days, according to the compensation packages contained in company filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

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Musk does not take a salary, instead favoring the incentive package. His net worth per Forbes is valued at over $40 billion.

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The Associated Press and Michael Liedtke in Berkeley, California, contributed to this report.