As pressure on the Biden administration to acknowledge Tesla's EV accomplishments mounts—there's a petition and even a Times Square billboard for that—a White House official is saying the government could use Tesla's expertise in dealing with the chip crisis.
While on CNBC's Squawk Box show, US secretary of commerce Gina Raimondo—appointed by president Biden—acknowledged that the semiconductor shortage is a major challenge for the US economy and even a national security risk as Joe Biden called it.
In this context, Raimondo noted that the United States is too reliant on Taiwan, namely the Asian country's top chip maker TSMC, for the supply of latest-generation semiconductors and added that there are US companies capable of building state-of-the-art chips in the country.
When moderator Melissa Lee asked her if she would call Elon Musk to ask for assistance in this matter, the secretary of commerce did not hesitate to say yes.
“Yeah, absolutely. None of this is personal. These issues are way too important for anyone to have, you know, feelings hurt. Like, let’s just do the work. And as I said, anyone who has good ideas or is willing to help us, absolutely we want the help.”
Raimondo added that she believed Tesla had better navigated the chip shortage than most traditional automakers because of its origin as technology company.
She also downplayed the animosity between Biden and Musk, saying she was not aware of a policy within the administration that would preclude her from soliciting advice from Tesla.
In recent weeks and months, Elon Musk has expressed his frustration with Biden over the White House events praising electric vehicle efforts from GM and Ford while snubbing Tesla.
The fact that Biden has refrained from even pronouncing the word Tesla, let alone acknowledge its accomplishments, is due to Musk's opposition to auto worker unions, according to Bloomberg citing a person familiar with the president's thinking.
Labor unions, including United Auto Workers (UAW), have a longstanding partnership with the Democratic Party, which they support during elections and through financial contributions.