President Donald Trump responded to questions about tweets he wrote earlier today urging Michigan, Minnesota, and Virginia to “liberate” themselves from stay-at-home orders.
“Some things are too tough and if you look at some of the states you just mentioned, it’s too tough, not only relative to this,” he told one reporter. “But what they did in Virginia in regard to the Second Amendment, it’s just a horrible thing, they did a horrible thing, the governor, and he’s a governor under a cloud to start out with. So when you see what he said about the Second Amendment, when you see what other states have done, I feel very comfortable.”
You can watch footage of the president’s comments below.
Trump on his "LIBERATE" tweets basically calling for civil unrest in a number of states with Democratic governors: "I think some things are too tough." pic.twitter.com/v7ff67Fiac
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 17, 2020
Trump’s comments on the Second Amendment are in reference to Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D), who signed firearm restrictions into law this week. The laws will increase background checks, limit handgun purchases, and establish a “red flag” procedure by which law enforcement can take firearms from someone deemed a threat to themselves or others.
“Tea party”-style protests erupted around the country in response to stay-at-home orders.
“This week, about 100 protesters gathered outside the Ohio statehouse in Columbus to push for Republican Gov. Mike DeWine to reopen the state. In Raleigh, more than 100 demonstrators gathered to protest Democratic North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s stay-at-home order, where at least one protester was charged with violating the order,” NBC reports. “In New York, a few dozen people gathered Thursday outside the state Capitol in Albany to rally for returning to normal. Kentucky, Utah and Wyoming also saw similar protests.”
The largest of these was in Michigan, where at least 3,000 people protested Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) extended and expanded stay-at-home order in front of the state Capitol in Lansing.
“I think they’re listening. I think they listen to me,” Trump said in response to questions about the protests. “They seem to be protesters that like me and respect this opinion, and my opinion is the same as just about all of the governors. They all want to open. Nobody wants to stay shut but they want to open safely. So do I.”
The president’s tweets sparked a debate on whether he was advocating for an armed insurrection, an action that law experts say is illegal and that health experts say would only further the spread of the coronavirus.
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.