Across the country, authorities have instituted social distancing demands in attempts to stem the spread of the Coronavirus, which has killed nearly 40,000 Americans as of this weekend. Nevertheless, in an attempt to protect their supposedly infringed rights or liberties or whatever, groups of protesters have turned out around the country against these social distancing demands. President Donald Trump himself has encouraged these demonstrations — the day after his administration unveiled guidelines for states to reopen their economies, he tweeted calls to “liberate” certain states. This weekend, Washington Governor Jay Inslee and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, both of whom are Democrats, fiercely countered the president’s reckless behavior.
Trump just called for armed insurrection against the legitimately elected leadership of several states with Democratic governors. Can we hear some more about how his tone has improved? pic.twitter.com/uGG03BnoIp
— David Nir (@DavidNir) April 17, 2020
Inslee denounced the president for encouraging what he called “insubordination” and “illegal activity.” Authorities like Inslee’s own administration, in line with the tough national social distancing guidelines in place from Trump’s own team, have simply been seeking to keep mass carnage from ensuing due to an unfettered Coronavirus spread.
Asked if he thought the president’s comments were dangerous, Inslee commented:
‘I don’t know any other way to characterize it. When we have an order from governors, both Republicans and Democrats, that basically are designed to protect people’s — literally their lives, to have a president of the United States basically encourage insubordination, to encourage illegal activity — these orders, they’re the law of these states… To have an American president encourage people to violate the law– I can’t remember any time during my time in America where we have seen such a thing.’
‘It is dangerous because it can inspire people to ignore things that actually can save their lives… And it is doubly frustrating because this is such a schizophrenia, because the president, basically, is asking people: please ignore Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx. Please ignore my own guidelines that I set forth.’
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee tells @GStephanopoulos by backing stay-at-home order protests, Trump is encouraging “insubordination” and “illegal activity.”
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) April 19, 2020
Over on Meet the Press, Michigan’s Governor Whitmer, who Trump has also repeatedly singled out for criticism, indicated her own persistent reliance on those guidelines. She insisted:
‘It’s working. We are seeing the curve start to flatten.’
.@GovWhitmer says she has no regrets over the restrictions she put in place in Michigan, saying the state needs to respond aggressively. "It's working. We are seeing the curve start to flatten." #MTP #IfiItsSunday
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) April 19, 2020
The guidelines that the White House currently has in place call for a suspension of items like nonessential travel and gatherings of ten or more people through the end of April. Beyond that, the White House has also outlined that states should see things like a reduction in Coronavirus cases for two weeks and dramatically increased Coronavirus testing capability before reopening their respective economies. In the vast majority of places, these guidelines aren’t even close to currently met, although the president rushed ahead with his tweeted calls to “liberate” certain states anyway.
Perspective: Trump’s "LIBERATE MICHIGAN!" tweets incite insurrection.
That’s illegal. https://t.co/flnRk7scri
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) April 17, 2020
Some have suggested that Trump’s tweets constitute illegal incitement of insurrection, although it’s unclear if Trump actually cares.
Former head of DOJ’s Nat’l Security Div Mary McCord: “it’s not at all unreasonable to consider Trump’s tweets about “liberation” as at least tacit encouragement to citizens to take up arms against duly elected state officials of the party opposite his own” https://t.co/a6IcEAvHDT
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) April 18, 2020
Even Republicans like Ohio Governor Mike DeWine have indicated their intention to stay the course of their public health protections from the Coronavirus in the face of presidential criticism.
This weekend on Meet the Press, he said:
‘We have to do what we think is right … and that is trying to open this economy, but doing it very carefully so we don’t get a lot of people killed.’
Why doesn’t the president prioritize the lives of Americans?
.@GovMikeDeWine on protesters in Ohio calling for the lifting of shelter-in-place guidelines: "We have to do what we think is right … and that is trying to open this economy, but doing it very carefully so we don't get a lot of people killed." #MTP #IfItsSunday
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) April 19, 2020