Yet More Outrageous Actions by President Trump

Previous posts have discussed what hopefully were the last outrageous actions of President Trump.[1]

Not true. On April 17, he issued two tweets entitled “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” and” “LIBERATE MINNESOTA!” without any other content. Then he issued a third tweet entitled “LIBERATE VIRGINIA, and save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!”[2]

All of these states have stay-at-home orders that have sparked protests.

Earlier that same day, in St. Paul, Minnesota in front of the Governor’s Mansion, “a group [of at least 800] calling itself ‘Liberate Minnesota’ held a protest Friday in violation of stay-at-home orders . . . [by] Gov. Tim Walz. . . . The group’s Facebook page says that “now is the time to demand Governor Walz and our state legislators end this lock down!” Jason Lewis, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate against Senator Tina Smith in the upcoming election, “expressed support for the protesters as he made several passes past the mansion in his campaign RV” and by a subsequent tweet thanking Trump for his tweet. [3]

“Earlier this week, “more than 1,000 protesters organized by conservative groups created a traffic jam on the streets around the State Capitol in Lansing, Mich., to complain that the restrictions were bad for small businesses. Other protesters, not in vehicles, waved banners in support of Mr. Trump and protested Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who has been a target of his ire, by chanting, ‘Lock her up.’”

A response to these presidential tweets came from Washington’s Governor Jay Inslee (Dem.), who said, ““The president’s statements this morning encourage illegal and dangerous acts. He is putting millions of people in danger of contracting COVID-19. His unhinged rantings and calls for people to ‘liberate’ states could also lead to violence.”

Conclusion

These presidential tweets came the day after he admitted in the daily coronavirus briefing that the states, not the president, had the authority to determine their reactions to the pandemic and announced an overall federal framework for “Opening Up America Again” that had some positive features.[4]

It is shocking and dangerous for the President to talk about the Second Amendment in this context and implicitly suggest that use of firearms might be the way to “liberate” these (and other) states from stay-at-home orders.

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[1]  See, e.g., these posts to dwkcommentaries.com: Pandemic Journal (# 10): Wisconsin’s Primary  Election (April 10, 2020); Comment: More Criticism of Republican Strategy of Limiting Voting (April 12, 2020); Comment: More Comments on Wisconsin Election (April 13, 2020); Comment: Surprising results in Wisconsin Election (April 14, 2020)):  Comment: George F.Will’s Opinion on Voting by Mail (VBM) (April 15, 2020); Comment: Emerging Battles Over Changing State Election Laws (April 15, 2020); Pandemic Journal (# 11): Pandemic Proves Trump’s Incompetence (April 14, 2020); Prominent Republicans Unite To Defeat Donald Trump’s Re-election (April 16, 2020).

[2]Trump tweets to “LIBERATE” states where people are protesting virus restrictions, N.Y. Times (April 17, 2020); Miller & Kerensky, ‘LIBERATE!’: Trump goads Minnesota, other states to lift virus restrictions, StarTribune (April 17, 2020); Itkowitz, ‘Liberate’: Trump tweets support of protests against stay-at-home orders, Wash. Post (April 17, 2020).

[3] Ibid.; Condon, Trump-backed rally urges Gov. Walz to ‘Liberate Minnesota,’ StarTribune (April 17, 2020); Karnowski (Assoc. Press), Trump tweets support for rally at Minnesota governor’s home, StarTribune (April 17, 2020).

[4] Emmanuel, Zhang & Boyle, What Trump’s Plan to Reopen America Gets Right, and Wrong, N.Y. times (April 17, 2020).