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President Trump seemed to have endorsed growing demonstrations by residents calling for states to reopen their economies after weeks of restrictions induced by the coronavirus pandemic.
On Friday, Trump tweeted calls to “LIBERATE” Minnesota, Virginia, and Michigan — all of which have Democratic governors.
As the country grapples with massive job losses induced by the restrictions, rallies have taken place in several major states, including Ohio, New York, Kentucky, and North Carolina. Attendees wore “Make America Great Again” hats and waved Trump flags, reflecting the president’s advocacy on the issue.
RALLIES TO REOPEN ECONOMY SPREAD ACROSS COUNTRY AS OFFICIALS URGE CAUTION TO PREVENT CORONAVIRUS RESURGENCE
On Thursday, the president rolled out a series of guidelines intended to help states reopen their economies after weeks of social distancing and other precautions.
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Governors across the nation have similarly discussed re-opening their economies. For example, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Friday that the state will ease a number of restrictions, but continue focusing on maintaining general social distancing protocols. Abbott also issued an executive order that closes all schools for the remainder of the current academic year.
Earlier this week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo reported the number of cases were leveling off, and hospitalizations and the number of new patients put on ventilators were continuing to drop, showing that social distancing is working. At the same time, he warned against complacency: “We could lose all the progress we made in one week if we do it wrong.”
Public health experts similarly have warned that an easing of the shutdowns must be accompanied by wider testing and tracing of infected people to keep the virus from coming back with a vengeance.
Trump also used his Twitter account Friday to criticize Cuomo and other Democrats, accusing them of inaction in response to the pandemic.
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He specifically blamed congressional Democrats for job losses, arguing that they failed to pass needed economic relief in response to crisis.
“Today people started losing their jobs because of Crazy Nancy Pelosi, Cryin’ Chuck Schumer, and the Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats, who should immediately come back to Washington and approve legislation to help families in America. End your ENDLESS VACATION!” he tweeted.
Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee fired back at the president with an incendiary statement accusing Trump of “fomenting domestic rebellion and spreading lies.”
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““The president’s statements this morning encourage illegal and dangerous acts. He is putting millions of people in danger of contracting COVID-19,” Inslee said. “His unhinged rantings and calls for people to “liberate” states could also lead to violence. We’ve seen it before.”
Inslee went on to say that Trump “is off the rails. He’s not quoting scientists and doctors but spewing dangerous, anti-democratic rhetoric.”
Fox News’ Peter Aitken and The Associated Press contributed to this report.