President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Thursday, April 16, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
President Donald Trump elicited a wild cacophony of criticism from the left when he expressed solidarity with Americans nationwide who took to the streets in protest of strict COVID-19 orders. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee recently castigated the president for his remarks, claiming that his words were “dangerous.”
In a series of tweets, Trump called on Americans to “LIBERATE” Minnesota, Michigan and Virginia, who have instituted a number of regulations on their residents. These measures were ostensibly designed to curb the spread of COVID-19. But some, including the president, have criticized these restrictions as being too strict.
In a White House press briefing on Friday, the president reaffirmed his statements, insisting that these measures were “too tough.” He said, “These are people expressing their views,” and that “they seem to be very responsible people to me.” He continued, stating that these individuals have “been treated a little bit rough.”
In an appearance on ABC News’ “This Week,” Inslee took the president to task for supporting the demonstrations that occurred in several states on Saturday. “To have an American president to encourage people to violate the law, I can’t remember any time in my time in America where we have seen such a thing,” he said. “It is dangerous because it can inspire people to ignore things that actually can save their lives.”
The governor argued that Trump’s remarks are “doubly frustrating” for governors calling them “a schizophrenia” because the president is “basically asking people” to ignore the advice of health officials on his Coronavirus task force.
Democratic politicians – and their allies in the corporate press – have also lambasted Trump for supporting those who are pushing back against the restrictions. However, this brings up an obvious question: Was the president arguing that all restrictions be lifted immediately?
Those who claim the president is pushing for the abrupt easing of COVID-19 restrictions are forgetting – or most likely, ignoring – the fact that Trump recently unveiled the White House’s guidance on reopening the economy. The plan does not call for the immediate scrapping of social distancing practices. Indeed, it puts forth a phased strategy for getting America back to work.
The White House’s new guidelines suggest that states and localities refrain from easing restrictions until a confirmed two-week downward trend in COVID-19 cases is confirmed and testing resources are available. Even then, it recommends that state and local leaders follow a three-phase plan to return to normalcy.
In phase one, the governments would allow restaurants, sporting venues, movie theaters, and places of worship to open as long as they are observing social distancing practices. Phase two would see the reopening of schools and youth activities. Nonessential traveling would be allowed, and residents could start going to stores and recreational areas while avoiding gatherings of more than 50 people. Finally, the third phase would allow those who are considered to be more vulnerable to the virus to engage in public interactions while still practicing social distancing.
When taking into account the administration’s plan for reopening the economy, it is clear that the president was not calling on the easing of all restrictions, rather, he was simply taking issue with the extreme measures that some governors, like Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer, are imposing on their state’s residents. A significant number of Americans are now fed up with some of the measures they have to deal with, and it makes sense to ensure that these individuals – especially ones living in areas not adversely impacted by the coronavirus – are still able to enjoy their freedoms.
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