Trump cheers early opening in Wisconsin despite most people opposing it


Trump cheered a court ruling overturning the governor's stay-at-home order entirely, even as experts say such orders are necessary to protect Americans from the virus.

Donald Trump cheered the Wisconsin Supreme Court's Wednesday decision to strike down the governor's stay-at-home order, hailing it on Thursday morning as a victory. He also falsely suggested that the state's population wants an immediate end to the social distancing rules designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

"The Great State of Wisconsin, home to Tom Tiffany's big Congressional Victory on Tuesday, was just given another win," Trump wrote. "Its Democrat [sic] Governor was forced by the courts to let the State Open. The people want to get on with their lives. The place is bustling!"

Contrary to Trump's claims, a Marquette University Law School poll, released Tuesday, showed that 69% of Wisconsin voters backed closures of schools and businesses and restrictions on public gatherings. A plurality of Republicans in the survey (49% to 43%) believed the rules appropriate (though that was down from 83% support among GOP voters surveyed in late March).

Wisconsin's conservative court overturned Gov. Tony Evers' "Safer at Home" emergency order by a 4-3 majority. They held that "an agency cannot confer on itself the power to dictate the lives of law-abiding individuals as comprehensively as the order does without reaching beyond the executive branch's authority." The challenge had been brought by the Republican leadership in the state legislature.

Evers told CNN on Wednesday that the ruling put Wisconsin "into chaos" with "no plan and no protections for the people." He likened it to "the wild west."

Public health experts continue to say social distancing is essential to avoiding an increase in cases that could overwhelm the public health system's capacity.

"We could lift social distancing measures but that doesn't mean that we’re ready to deal with containing the outbreak and so it would not be wise to do that until we are," Amanda Simanek, professor of epidemiology at UW-Milwaukee told Wisconsin Public Radio earlier this month.

She warned that people should avoid the temptation to break the rules. "What about the person who you grocery shopped next to? What about the coffee you snuck in with your neighbor? Those are those opportunities for the infection to spread and it may be that you’re fine due to that infection but others won’t be," she said. "It really defeats the purpose of these stringent social distancing measures that we’re taking."

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top epidemiologist, told Congress this week that premature reopening could cause both a spike in COVID-19 cases and serious damage to the economy.

"My concern that if some areas — cities, states or what have you — jump over those various checkpoints and prematurely open up, without having the capability of being able to respond effectively and efficiently, my concern is we will start to see little spikes that might turn into outbreaks," he told the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

"There is a real risk that you will trigger an outbreak that you may not be able to control, which in fact, paradoxically, will set you back, not only leading to some suffering and death that could be avoided but could even set you back on the road to try to get economic recovery," he added.

As of Wednesday, Wisconsin has had about 11,000 people test positive for coronavirus and seen more than 400 deaths.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.