Tesla CEO Elon Musk gave Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh a tour of his company’s nearly-completed plant near Austin, Texas, Axios reported.
The Sunday tour involved a wide-ranging 75-minute conversation between Musk and Walsh that covered topics including inflation, innovation and job creation, according to Axios. Tesla’s plant, a so-called gigafactory, is set to open on April 7, was built for $1.1 billion and will be Tesla’s global headquarters.
Walsh is visiting Austin for the annual South by Southwest festival. He will discuss “worker empowerment, job growth, unionization, the ‘Great Resignation’ and getting Americans back to work” during a panel discussion at the event Monday, according to the festival schedule.
But Walsh’s visit to the Tesla factory represents a departure from the Biden administration’s effort to avoid mentioning the electric vehicle maker and its founder. Musk has spoken out against the White House and President Joe Biden multiple times for apparently snubbing Tesla while pushing for greater domestic electric vehicle manufacturing.
“Biden has pointedly ignored Tesla at every turn and falsely stated to the public that GM leads the electric car industry, when in fact Tesla produced over 300,000 electric vehicles last quarter and GM produced 26,” Musk told CNBC in February. (RELATED: Elon Musk Mocks Biden’s State Of The Union Address After Tesla Snub)
.@SecMartyWalsh visited the Austin Tesla factory ahead of his SXSW speech today
— Christian Datoc (@TocRadio) March 14, 2022
In late January, Musk tweeted that Biden was a “damp sock puppet in human form,” adding that the president was “trying to cancel a great American company and rewrite EV history.”
The White House has yet to invite Musk or other Tesla leaders to any event in the administration’s 14 months in power. But the president has hosted a range of EV companies and visited multiple factories producing zero-emissions cars.
Biden even promoted an Australian electric vehicle charger company before acknowledging Tesla, which made nearly 80% of the EVs sold in the U.S. in 2020.
“President Biden is right that American entrepreneurs and manufacturers must be at the forefront of the electric vehicle revolution,” American Conservation Coalition Vice President of Government Affairs Quill Robinson said in a statement shared with the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Yet, today, he placed an Australian company on the podium and nodded to the unions, which routinely stifle innovation.”
“If President Biden wished to champion American innovation, he would have asked the CEO of Tesla, the largest EV company in the world, to join him on the stage,” Robinson said.
The Labor Department and Tesla didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment from the DCNF.
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