Friday, April 17, 2020

What did Donald Trump do today?

He called on his base to "liberate" states from governors following his own recommendations.

Over the last few days, small protests against emergency closures, organized by anti-government and anti-vaccination groups, have cropped up. Protestors have waved Trump campaign signs and Confederate flags. Some carried rifles

In response, Trump tweeted three calls to "LIBERATE" three states—Minnesota, Michigan, and Virginia—from the emergency health restrictions in place. All three are swing states with Democratic governors that Trump desperately needs to win in November in order to remain in power. 

He did not suggest "liberating" Ohio, which has a Republican governor, even though one of the larger protests took place at the Ohio state capitol building.

Joshua A. Bickel/AP

Trump began the week insisting, falsely, that he and only he had the "total authority" to determine when states would end emergency measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus. But he quickly backed down from that, retreating once again to the idea that the federal government was simply a "backup" in "wartime" situations like this. At the same time, he began claiming that it was really states who were responsible for all testing, as in this tweet today:

Trump's own guidelines—which he also promoted by tweet today—call for massive, repeated, free testing. No state currently has enough testing capacity even to test its symptomatic patients.

In other words, Trump is saying that armed citizens should "liberate" their states from Democratic governors who are following his own guidelines. More than 80% of Americans support keeping social distancing in place.

Trump himself remains impossible to approach without being tested for COVID-19.

Why does this matter?

  • The health and safety of American citizens is more important than Donald Trump's political needs.
  • It's wrong to incite violence or lawbreaking during an emergency.
  • Presidents don't get to pick and choose which parts of their job they want to do.