Billionaire Tesla boss Elon Musk lashed out Wednesday at lockdowns meant to contain the coronavirus in a series of early-morning Twitter posts echoing calls from protesters around the US.
“FREE AMERICA NOW,” Musk tweeted at 2:15 a.m.
The 48-year-old tech tycoon crowed “Bravo Texas!” in an earlier post hailing the Lone Star State for moving to reopen restaurants and retail stores this week. His praise came a week after Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said the state should lift restrictions because “there are more important things than living.”
Musk also shared a Sunday op-ed in The Wall Street Journal arguing that severe shutdowns have not helped save many lives.
“Give people their freedom back!” Musk wrote.
Musk’s missives followed protests in several states urging officials to lift lockdown measures that have forced business to close and put millions of workers on the unemployment rolls. President Trump recently voiced support for the largely conservative protesters by calling on officials to “liberate” Minnesota, Michigan and Virginia.
Musk has expressed skepticism about the coronavirus for weeks even though it has sickened more than 3.1 million people and killed more than 217,000 people worldwide, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.
Musk called panic about the virus “dumb” in early March and later falsely claimed that children are “essentially immune” to the disease. He also wrongly predicted last month that the US would probably see “close to zero new cases” by the end of April; more than 24,000 US cases were reported on Tuesday alone, Johns Hopkins says.
Tesla, Musk’s $141 billion electric-car company, has reportedly asked some workers to return to its California factory this week even though the Bay Area has yet to lift a lockdown that forced it to halt production. Musk is also closing in on a $750 million payday while Tesla’s hourly workers faced furloughs.