Washington’s Inslee criticizes Trump’s support of Michigan protests against coronavirus lockdown orders

Washington’s Inslee criticizes Trump’s support of Michigan protests against coronavirus lockdown orders

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Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Sunday criticized President Trump for tweeting out his support last week for demonstrators protesting their states’ stay-at-home orders – calling it “schizophrenia” after the White House released specific guidelines for states to re-open as the country battles the coronavirus pandemic.

Both the president’s tweet and Inslee’s comments come after numerous states last week saw protests against the stay-at-home orders that governors have issued to slow the spread of COVID-19. While the lockdown measures appear to be working in most areas, many people are concerned about the economic impact the pandemic is taking on their wallets and on the country’s economy.

Inslee said the president’s support on social media for the protesters is both putting people’s lives at risk and encouraging them to do an “illegal activity” by gathering in large groups.

“I can’t remember any time during my lifetime in America where we have seen such a thing,” Inslee said during an appearance on ABC’s “This Week.” “And it is dangerous because it can inspire people to ignore things that actually can save their lives.”

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Inslee continued: “It is doubly frustrating to us governors 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.’”

Trump on Thursday announced the White House’s plan for eventually rolling back social distancing measures and reopening the country’s economy in several phases — depending on location — amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The plan, which Trump announced along with the formation of a bipartisan council of lawmakers from both chambers of Congress, outlines “recommendations” for governors to develop their own plans to reopen. It also includes a number of criteria that must be met in terms of numbers of infections and hospitalizations before they can open up.

“We are not opening all at once, but one careful step at a time,” Trump said, adding that the guidelines were “based on hard verifiable data.”

He added: “Some states will be able to open up sooner than others.”

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Trump on Friday then tweeted “LIBERATE MICHIGAN,” which is an apparent reference to the growing unrest in the state over Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s strict stay-at-home orders. A protest last week against those orders drew thousands of people to the state capital of Lansing to voice their anger at Whitmer.

Despite the president’s support for the protesters, Michigan currently does not meet the criteria – a drop in both infections and hospitalizations related to COVID-19 – to qualify for even Phase One on the “Opening Up American Again” plan.

“Those direct guidelines made very clear if you read them, and I don’t know if the president did or not, but if you read them, it made very clear that you cannot open up Michigan today or Virginia, Inslee said. “Under those guidelines, you need to see a decline in the infections and fatalities. And that simply has not happened yet.”

Both Michigan and Virginia, along with a number of other states, saw protests last week against the lockdown orders. The protests – mainly organized by conservative groups – will continue this upcoming week as states across the country gear up for their own rallies.

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