Governors Call Out Trump For Siding With Stay-At-Home Protesters

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - MARCH 11: Washington State Governor Jay Inslee (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
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Governors took issue with President Trump’s call for states with stay-at-home orders to “LIBERATE” residents from social distancing guidelines, during Sunday morning interviews.

While sympathizing with the public’s frustration as many Americans continue to comply with social distancing guidelines to curb the spread of COVID-19, governors across the country criticized Trump for defending stay-at-home order protesters — who the President said “seem to be very responsible people” during Friday’s White House coronavirus task force briefing — soon after releasing federal guidelines for governors to begin reopening their states at their discretion.

Here’s what they had to say about Trump’s call:

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R)

After saying that he understands the frustration among “the people that want to get things open right away” and that he’s also frustrated, Hogan told CNN’s Jake Tapper that he doesn’t think it’s helpful for the President to “encourage demonstrations and encourage people to go against” his own policy.

“It just doesn’t make any sense,” Hogan said. “We’re sending completely conflicting messages out to the governors and to the people, as if we should ignore federal policy and federal recommendations.”

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D)

After MSNBC’s Chuck Todd asked her whether she regrets any of the social distancing restrictions that she implemented in light of the protesters swarming the Michigan State Capitol recently, Whitmer replied that she doesn’t due to her state holding the third highest number of death from COVID-19.

“That’s precisely why we have to take a more aggressive stand,” Whitmer said. “It’s working. We are seeing the curve start to flatten. But as people come in from across the state and gather and congregate without masks, without standing six feet apart, without those important protections, it means that they might have gone back to these parts of our state and perhaps brought COVID-19 along with them.”

Whitmer then added that Michigan’s rural hospitals are not equipped to handle “a big surge.”

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D)

When pressed by CNN’s Jake Tapper about Trump’s attacks against him, Northam first hit back at Trump for being “unable to deliver on tests” before criticizing the President for now turning his focus on protests.

“This is not the time for protest. This is not the time for divisiveness,” Northam said. “This is time for leadership that will stand up and provide empathy, that will understand what’s going on in this country of ours with this pandemic.”

Northam later added that the country is in the middle of both a health and economic crisis.

“As soon as we can get this health crisis behind us, we will be able to address the economic crisis, get back to where we were in, and let people get back to their normal lives,” Northam said.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D)

Asked by ABC News’ George Stephanopolous to elaborate on how he believes that Trump’s “LIBERATE” tweets are dangerous, Inslee responded that Trump’s support of stay-at-home order protests encourages “insubordination” and “illegal activity” due to how the orders are the law of states.

“To have an American president to encourage people to violate the law, I can’t remember any time during my time in America where we have seen such a thing,” Inslee said. “And it is dangerous, because it can inspire people to ignore things that actually can save their lives. And I don’t know there’s another way to characterize it.”

Inslee added that the protests are “doubly frustrating” to governors because “this is such a schizophrenia” where the President is asking people to ignore his own guidelines, which White House coronavirus task force members such as Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx have advocated for.

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