There’s apparently no behavior from President Donald Trump that Vice President Mike Pence is unwilling to defend. Recently, Trump launched into angry Twitter tirades, calling to “LIBERATE” a slew of Democrat-led states that have instituted stay-at-home orders amidst the Coronavirus pandemic just like almost the entire rest of the country. On Thursday, the White House unveiled guidelines for states to reopen their economies after those social distancing measures, but then the president launched into his “liberate!” tweets that sounded like calls for the use of force. Pence, amazingly, refuses to acknowledge any kind of contradiction between the science-based approach and the president’s loony incitement.
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
On Meet the Press this weekend, host Chuck Todd asked Pence:
‘Can you explain what the president is trying to liberate Minnesota from? I don’t quite understand that use of language.’
As the host noted, the White House itself has issued guidelines advising against all nonessential travel and gathering in groups of ten or more people. These guidelines are in place until the end of April — which is still weeks away — and yet, Trump is launching into these rambling Twitter rants now.
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
Pence offered the excuse:
‘Well no one wants to reopen America more than President Donald Trump, and I think the American people have known that from weeks ago when the president declared that important balance that we have to make sure the cure isn’t worse than the disease, because the reality is that for all the sacrifices that the American people have made, sacrifices that have literally saved lives — the truth is that there are real costs including the health and well being of the American people to continue to go through the shutdown that we’re going through today.’
WATCH: Why is President Trump trying to undermine the guidance for states on social distancing with tweets about "liberating" Minnesota and Michigan? #MTP #IfItsSunday@VP: "The president has made it clear — he wants to reopen America." pic.twitter.com/4hy3kwrGp9
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) April 19, 2020
No one is claiming that there are no costs to keeping social distancing demands in place. Yet, it’s the president’s own team that produced the estimate of millions of Coronavirus deaths if those social distancing demands were not implemented. Pence seemingly thinks that Trump’s prioritization of reopening America is supposed to sound reassuring — where’s the prioritization of avoiding the millions of deaths that the president’s own team predicted could ensue in the absence of social distancing measures? In fact, Trump is simply repeatedly devolving into his partisan meltdowns, and Pence is trying to shine up the mess left behind.
Perspective: Trump’s "LIBERATE MICHIGAN!" tweets incite insurrection.
That’s illegal. https://t.co/flnRk7scri
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) April 17, 2020
Going forward, the U.S. needs a rigorous testing regimen in place for any actually effective reopening that is able to avoid falling right back into an out-of-control outbreak. Currently, the U.S. is conducting around 150,000 tests per day, which Pence claimed during his weekend television appearance could be doubled soon — but the administration has made a lot of failed Coronavirus testing promises in the past. For instance, on March 6, Trump claimed — completely wrongly — that “anybody that wants a test can get a test.”
Cuomo and 6 other East coast governors have hired McKinsey to develop a plan to help re-open the states, seeking to counter Trump's pressure to move rapidly.
An aide for New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said the goal is to "Trump-proof" the plan. https://t.co/ItjlO3cUqj
— Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈 (@Amy_Siskind) April 16, 2020
A number of the nation’s most highly populated states have banded together with intrastate pacts to coordinate their post-Coronavirus reopening plans. Governors in the Northeast specifically sought to “Trump-proof” their own plan, according to reports. The Northeast has been particularly hard hit, with New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania all above 1,000 deaths each.
Exclusive: Gov. Cuomo taps McKinsey to develop 'Trump-proof' economic reopening plan https://t.co/RD4AlSUq3K
— Laura Nahmias (@nahmias) April 16, 2020