Trump Tells States to “LIBERATE!” Contradicting Own Administration’s Guidance

A day after President Donald Trump unveiled a three-phase approach to ending stay-in-place orders across the country, he voiced support for right-wing protesters in a number of states who are themselves urging a quicker — and potentially more dangerous — approach.

On Friday, Trump sent a triad of tweets in which he called for voters to “liberate” themselves.

“LIBERATE MINNESOTA!” he wrote in one of his tweets. “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” he wrote in another post.

In his third tweet, Trump followed the same motif for Virginia, but added that the state ought to “save” gun rights as well.

“LIBERATE VIRGINIA, and save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!” the president wrote.

Virginia recently passed gun laws that put new regulations on owning and purchasing weaponry, including expanding background checks and implementing “red flag” laws, which allow local law enforcement to confiscate weapons from people deemed to be a danger to others or themselves.

Trump’s tweets on Friday appear to be focusing on states that have held or are planning to hold mass protests against stay-in-place measures designed to curb the spread of COVID-19. Although a sizable number of individuals are against those measures, favoring instead for the “reopening” of their respective state economies, polling across the nation shows a vast majority of Americans would rather preserve stay-in-place orders to diminish the disease’s spread, even if it comes with economic consequences.

Trump’s calls to “liberate” states from such orders stand in direct contrast to his own recommendations. According to the three-phase plan he announced on Thursday, before any state even considers moving in that direction, it’s advised that a “downward trajectory of documented cases within a 14-day period” be evident.

Even if states are showing a trajectory in that direction, they must do so for another two weeks, according to the president’s plan. The measures laid out by Trump this week also lack a means for increasing testing in the states to demonstrate things are improving.

Trump’s tweets appear to some to be wholly partisan, as they were only sent messages to states with Democratic governors. The mentioning of the Second Amendment in his third tweet — an issue that’s unrelated in any way to the coronavirus crisis — also suggests a more political tone in his tweets.

And just minutes after sending out his three “liberate” messages, he criticized Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York; suggested that states, not the federal government, need to “step up” testing for the disease; and called the Obama administration a “disaster” because “17,000 people died” in the U.S. during the H1N1 crisis. (The actual figure is 12,469.)

At the time of publication, more than 34,000 Americans have died from coronavirus, double the amount Trump falsely claimed had died during H1N1.