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Opinion: After Incitement From Trump, Multiple States See Social Distancing Protests

In what appeared to be a flash Trump rally, uninformed Michiganders protested Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s recent executive orders literally designed to keep these people alive during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Michigan Conservative Coalition, a right-wing group, seems to have worked with the Michigan Freedom Fund, a Betsy DeVos-backed group, to organize Wednesday’s “Operation Gridlock” in which handfuls of angry neckbearded white men assembled outside the Michigan governor’s residence.

President Trump, who has attacked Michigan Governor Whitmer in the past and even alerted Vice President Pence not to take her calls over criticisms she made about the Fed’s ill-prepared response, did what anyone would expect a president who has struggled to be human and presidential during this crisis: he sided with the law-breaking protestors.

But one day after reportedly telling governors they would “call the shots” in determining when to lift social distancing guidelines in their states, Trump exploited tensions between demonstrators and the Democratic governors in Minnesota, Michigan and Virginia.

“LIBERATE MINNESOTA!” Trump tweeted, followed quickly by a call to “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!”

While these tweets are egregious and contradict his own social distancing measures, Trump appeared willing to instigate a bloody civil war when he called on supporters in Virginia to save their Second Amendment rights.

All three states are widely seen as swing states in the 2020 presidential election. Even though Trump won Michigan in 2016 in an upset, Biden has a slight lead over him in the state at the moment. Hillary Clinton took Minnesota and handily won Virginia, however, and most expect Biden to carry Minnesota and win Virginia as well.

Featured image credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr



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