‘Illegal and dangerous’: Inslee reacts to Trump’s calls to ‘liberate’ some states
OLYMPIA, Wash. — Governor Jay Inslee has called President Donald Trump’s comments on “liberating” parts of the country “illegal and dangerous.”
“The president’s statements this morning encourage illegal and dangerous acts. He is putting millions of people in danger of contracting COVID-19. His unhinged rantings and calls for people to ‘liberate’ states could also lead to violence. We’ve seen it before,” Inslee said in a statement Friday.
Inslee’s comments refer to a series of Trump’s tweets early Friday morning, in which the president expressed support of Michiganders, Minnesotans and Virginians protesting restrictions in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In all caps, the president tweeted: “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!; LIBERATE MINNESOTA!; LIBERATE VIRIGINIA, and save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!”
Trump’s tweets came just hours after he said governors will be the ones to decide on when and how to reopen their states.
“You are all going to call your own shots,” Trump said Thursday. “I’ve gotten to know almost all of you, most of you I’ve known and some very well. You are all very capable people, I think in all cases, very capable people. And you’re going to be calling your shots.”
In Washington, one of the states hit hardest by COVID-19, the current restrictions are set to be in place through May 4. However, Inslee said there is a possibility that the stay home order could be extended.
Inslee said the decision to reopen Washington will be made in consultation with public health officials and driven by scientific data. In his statement Friday, Inslee accused the president of retreating on his promise to do the same.
“Just yesterday, the president stood alongside White House officials and public health experts and said science would guide his plan for easing restrictions. The White House released a sensible plan laying out many of the guidelines that I agree are essential to follow, as we work to resume economic activity. Trump slowly read his script and said the plan was based on ‘hard, verifiable data’ and was done ‘in consultation with scientists, experts and medical professionals across government,” Inslee said. “Less than 24 hours later, the president is off the rails. He’s not quoting scientists and doctors but spewing dangerous, anti-democratic rhetoric.”
Inslee said Trump’s calls to liberate certain states undermines his own goal of recovery by further delaying the ability of states to amend current interventions in a safe, evidence-based way.
“His words are likely to cause COVID-19 infections to spike in places where social distancing is working — and if infections are increasing in those places, that will further postpone the 14 days of decline that his own guidance says is necessary before modifying any interventions,” Inslee said. “I hope political leaders of all sorts will speak out firmly against the president’s calls for rebellion. Americans need to work together to protect each other. It’s the only way to slow the spread of this deadly virus and get us on the road to recovery.”