By Rebecca Ballhaus 

President Trump has backed Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Elon Musk's decision to resume production of cars at its California plant, siding with the electric-vehicle maker over the local government in a high-profile standoff as parts of the state consider reopening.

Mr. Trump weighed in on Twitter Tuesday, writing: "California should let Tesla & @elonmusk open the plant, NOW. It can be done Fast & Safely!"

A day earlier, Mr. Musk tweeted that Tesla would restart production at in violation of Alameda County rules. "I will be on the line with everyone else. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me," he wrote

The company had stopped production at the Fremont, Calif., factory, its lone U.S. assembly plant, on March 23. The county health department said Monday that it had notified the company that it could only maintain "minimum basic operations" until its plan to reopen received approval. The company was expected to submit a site-specific plan Monday, the county said.

"We hope that Tesla will likewise comply without further enforcement measures," the county said in a statement.

Mr. Trump in recent weeks has begun escalating pressure on state and local governments around the country to start reopening after months of sheltering in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. The president has repeatedly indicated he fears the economic toll of shutting down will be greater than the harm caused by virus, which has infected more than 1.3 million and killed more than 80,000 in the U.S.

Write to Rebecca Ballhaus at Rebecca.Ballhaus@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 12, 2020 11:24 ET (15:24 GMT)

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