Elon Musk backs coronavirus reopening, takes heat from Rep. Omar
Tesla CEO tells government to 'give people their freedom back!'
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Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., criticized Tesla CEO Elon Musk for calling on the United States to reopen amid coronavirus in a Wednesday morning tweet.
"Billionaires want to continue profiting off your labor even if it means risking millions of lives," Omar wrote. "They call this 'freedom.'"
Omar's tweet came in response to the billionaire engineer's earlier post on Twitter that read, "FREE AMERICA NOW."
Tesla's stock rebounded 100 percent Monday from its low point on March 16. The stock has advanced 84 percent this year, while the broader S&P 500 has dropped over 11 percent. The electric vehicle maker's market value grew to a six-month average of $96.59 billion, as tracked by Dow Jones Market Data Group.
Musk also tweeted, "Give people their freedom back!" with a link to an op-ed published by The Wall Street Journal on Sunday titled, "Do Lockdowns Save Many Lives? In Most Places, the Data Say No."
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He praised Texas, too, for planning to reopen under specific guidelines, tweeting, "Bravo Texas!" with a link to a Texas Tribune article detailing how the state plans to get its businesses back up and running by Friday.
Musk added that states should "reopen with care [and] appropriate protection, but don't put everyone under de facto house arrest."
The tweets come after a report Tuesday that Tesla is asking some employees to get back to work at its California auto plant, several days before area health measures lift. The automaker initially said that operations would resume on May 4.
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Some states have already begun easing COVID-19 restrictions after people started protesting in public places, with some disobeying social distancing guidelines, demanding governments reopen businesses.
Others, especially health care workers, argue that it's not safe to reopen businesses and public places yet without mass testing capabilities; confirmed virus cases haven't decreased as much as they would like before the country officially puts Americans back to work.
Musk has come under scrutiny for some of his previous COVID-19-related tweets. In a March 6 tweet, he wrote, "The coronavirus panic is dumb."
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On March 19, six days after Tesla's stock reached a dramatic low, the billionaire tweeted that "based on current trends," there would probably be "close to zero new cases" in the U.S. by the end of April. He also said on March 19 that children are "essentially immune" to the virus.
The Tesla founder temporarily closed all of its factories in March and reshaped its Buffalo, New York, plant into a ventilator production facility to deliver the much-needed devices to overwhelmed hospitals in New York and California.
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This article contains material from previous FOX Business articles.