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Elon Musk’s shutdown rant mocked by Mark Cuban, embraced by conservatives

Stefan Nicola and Craig Trudell
Bloomberg

Elon Musk drew criticism from some of his peers in the business community and cheers from conservative political circles after calling government shutdown orders aimed at containing a global pandemic “fascist.”

The CEO of Tesla Inc. compared shelter-in-place measures to forcible imprisonment during a call to discuss the electric-car maker’s first-ever quarterly profit to start a year. Musk, 48, said he was worried about not being able to resume production in the San Francisco Bay area, which is home to his only vehicle assembly plant in the U.S.

Elon Musk.

“Anything that negatively impacts Tesla, Elon hates, period, end of story,” Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks, said on Fox News Wednesday. “You know, I don’t think he has other people’s interests at heart.”

“My attitude is you’ve got to be smart,” said Cuban, 61, who’s among the business leaders on the council advising President Donald Trump on reopening the U.S. economy. “We don’t have to rush back into things. We get to learn.”

Musk, who tweeted in early March that panic over the coronavirus was dumb and predicted that the U.S. would have close to zero new cases by now, is doubling down, said David Heinemeier Hansson, a Danish programmer and co-founder of the software-development firm Basecamp.

Conservative media and commentators were more forgiving. The Daily Caller wrote that Musk has been “lending his voice to many others who have questioned the severity and necessity of continued lockdown measures as coronavirus rates decline across most of the country and deaths fall well below initial dire predictions.”

Dana Loesch, the former spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association, tweeted that she’s tempted to buy one of Musk’s vehicles.

Joan Grande, the mother of Grammy Award-winning singer Ariana Grande, said she would get rid of her Teslas and called for a boycott of the company.

Galileo Russell, the founder and host of a YouTube channel who engaged in a more than 20-minute-long exchange with Musk during an earnings call in 2018, gave the Tesla CEO a pass.