Gov. Jay Inslee said President Trump’s tweets to “LIBERATE” the states of Michigan, Minnesota, and Virginia were “putting millions of people in danger of contracting COVID-19.”
Inslee also criticized Trump for his “unhinged rantings” and said it could lead to violence. Inslee encouraged other political leaders to speak out against Trump’s “meltdown” and for Americans to work together to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Protesters angry at a stay-at-home order in Michigan protested in the state’s capital Wednesday, and similar protests by Trump supporters followed Friday in Minnesota and Virginia. All three states have Democratic Party governors.
Inslee, the governor of the state that saw the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the U.S., released a statement Friday on Trump’s comments about “liberating” parts of the country.
“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. We’ve seen it before.
“The president is fomenting domestic rebellion and spreading lies even while his own administration says the virus is real and is deadly, and that we have a long way to go before restrictions can be lifted.
“Just yesterday, the president stood alongside White House officials and public health experts and said science would guide his plan for easing restrictions. The White House released a sensible plan laying out many of the guidelines that I agree are essential to follow, as we work to resume economic activity. Trump slowly read his script and said the plan was based on ‘hard, verifiable data’ and was done ‘in consultation with scientists, experts and medical professionals across government.’
“Less than 24 hours later, the president is off the rails. He’s not quoting scientists and doctors but spewing dangerous, anti-democratic rhetoric.
“We appreciate our continued communication with the vice president, Dr. Birx, Admiral Polowczyk, Admiral Giroir and others in the federal government, but their work is undermined by the president’s irresponsible statements.
“I hope someday we can look at today’s meltdown as something to be pitied, rather than condemned. But we don’t have that luxury today. There is too much at stake.
“The president’s call to action today threatens to undermine his own goal of recovery by further delaying the ability of states to amend current interventions in a safe, evidence-based way. His words are likely to cause COVID-19 infections to spike in places where social distancing is working — and if infections are increasing in those places, that will further postpone the 14 days of decline that his own guidance says is necessary before modifying any interventions.
“I hope political leaders of all sorts will speak out firmly against the president’s calls for rebellion. Americans need to work together to protect each other. It’s the only way to slow the spread of this deadly virus and get us on the road to recovery.”