- During a Tesla earnings call on Wednesday, Elon Musk claimed the coronavirus response was “fascist,” blasting stay-at-home orders.
- Earlier that day he tweeted “FREE AMERICA NOW.”
- Many were shocked or outraged by Musk’s statements — while others agreed.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk faced a myriad of responses after calling the lockdown measure to curb the spread of the coronavirus ‘fascist.’
Musk went on a short expletive-filled rant during a Wednesday earnings call following an announcement about the company’s surprise first-quarter profit, Business Insider previously reported.
“Frankly, I would call it forcible imprisoning of people in their homes against all of, their constitutional rights, in my opinion,” he said. “It’s breaking people’s freedoms in ways that are horrible and wrong and not why they came to America or built this country. What the f–k. Excuse me. Outrage. Outrage.”
Elon Musk faced a myriad of responses after calling the US lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus ‘fascist.’
Musk also called the government imposed shutdown of all-but-essential businesses undemocratic.
“If somebody wants to stay in their house, that’s great and they should be able to,” he said. “But to say they cannot leave their house and that they will be arrested if they do: that’s fascist. That is not democratic; this is not freedom. Give people back their godd–n freedom.”
Mike Murphy an editor at Protocol tweeted: “Elon Musk is a sweary constitutional scholar now.”
Elon Musk is a sweary constitutional scholar now https://t.co/5HFDZu698S pic.twitter.com/lwTdoDtFIy
— Mike Murphy (@mcwm) April 30, 2020
The orders have been put in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus, which has thus far infected more than one million Americans and killed more than 60,800. Individuals are still allowed to leave their homes to get essential goods and exercise. Many governors have said the measures are not meant to imprison or arrest individuals.
Jim Kessler, the executive vice president for policy at the think tank Third Way, asked Musk how the Congressional Black Caucus would feel about lifting the lockdown, in a tweet:
The Congressional Black Caucus steps to the fore in the #COVID19 battle because #BlackLivesMatter. Hey @elonmusk before you tell America to get back to work, talk to the black and brown people working the front lines and paying the price. https://t.co/d8vJyOwMX2 @CBCPAC
— Jim Kessler (@ThirdWayKessler) April 30, 2020
Kessler wrote: “before you tell America to get back to work, talk to the black and brown people working the front lines and paying the price,” and linked to a The Hill article on how members of the Congressional Black Caucus taking charge during the pandemic as black people have become disproportionately impact by the coronavirus in the US.
According to the article Kessler linked to, 70% of those who died after contracting the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 in Louisiana were black.
Some seemed to feel that this wasn’t a surprising Musk response, like journalist Jake Hanrahan who tweeted “Elon Musk is on one again.”
Elon Musk is on one again. https://t.co/mgIEtXq8VT
— Jake Hanrahan (@Jake_Hanrahan) April 30, 2020
This isn’t the first time Musk has been critical of the US coronavirus response. On March 6, Musk claimed that panic about the coronavirus “is dumb.”
On Tuesday, the billionaire continued his attack on the response efforts and urged leaders to “FREE AMERICA NOW” on Twitter as well as praised Texas’ relaxation of rules starting Friday.
However, some seemed to agree with Musk including Dana Loesch, a former spokesperson for the National Rifle Association and former editor at Breitbart News.
On Twitter, Loesch claimed Musk’s comments made her want to now buy a Tesla.
Meanwhile @elonmusk over here making we want to get a Tesla. https://t.co/kklE8OcFRz
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) April 30, 2020
And others were still confused about Musk’s logic for the statements he made. Ryan Houlihan, an editor at Input Magazine called said the billionaire’s statements went “against all science and reason to the point of advocating for mass death.”
Watching @elonmusk go against all science and reason to the point of advocating for mass death because its inconvenient to him personally has huge “Steve Jobs trying to cure his pancreatic cancer with coffee enemas” energy
— Ryan Houlihan (@RyanHoulihan) April 30, 2020
Others wondered why any attention is paid to Musk at all.
Author Nancy Jo Sales tweeted: “Why does anyone listen to this a-hole? He got lucky early with some Internet stuff. After that, spotty record which includes insanity of shooting a car into space. What is Grimes thinking?”
On Wednesday night, Musk seemed to double down on his argument by tweeting a graph that showed a decline in hospitalization rates in California as a reason to ease lockdown measures.
Hospitals in California have been half empty this whole time pic.twitter.com/8GL2BLypqV
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 30, 2020
However, a number of factors, including the elimination of elective surgeries, alongside a reduction in car accidents and trauma due to the lockdown, and that California’s mitigation strategies have reduced the number of coronavirus cases, could be contributing to that reduction. The Los Angeles Times reported earlier this month that car accidents in California were down by about half compared to previous years.
Musk later followed up on that tweet with a screenshot that showed the state’s Human and Health Services server down and wrote “California HHS server crashed. Maybe it has covid.”
Public health officials have urged states to stay at home to slow the spread of the virus — which has proven highly infectious and can be deadly, especially for those who are elderly or have other health conditions. The stay-at-home orders are also in place so that hospitals don’t face a surge of patients, overwhelming staff and the PPE supply.
After initially reducing their projected death estimates, models used by the White House began increasing their expected death toll to more than 70,000 last week as states begin to ease stay at home orders.
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