Michigan governor slams Trump team for encouraging violence in her state — again


Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Scott Atlas' tweet 'took my breath away.'

Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer slammed the Trump administration on Monday for again urging rebellion against coronavirus safety measures. She said during an appearance on MSNBC that the latest comments made by Scott Atlas, a top pandemic adviser to Donald Trump, "actually took my breath away."

Whitmer was asked about the tweet posted by Atlas, a neuroradiologist and conservative commentator who opposes most coronavirus safety measures, which read: "The only way this stops is if people rise up. You get what you accept. #FreedomMatters #StepUp."

"We are in the midst of the worst weeks of this pandemic. We've been going through this for nine months and, right now, the numbers are as bad as they've been at any given time. As so we have to take aggressive measures," she said. "With the vacuum of leadership in Washington, D.C., it's on the states' governors to do what we can to save lives and to follow epidemiologists and public health experts."

Whitmer announced over the weekend that, due to spiking cases in her state and nationally, Michigan would implement a three-week long "pause" on in-person learning, indoor dining, and gatherings in theaters and stadiums.

After significant backlash over the fact that his comments appeared to suggest armed rebellion, Atlas claimed: "Hey. I NEVER was talking at all about violence. People vote, people peacefully protest. NEVER would I endorse or incite violence. NEVER!!"

However, claims that safety measures aimed at stemming the pandemic are violations of people's freedom have been a frequent mantra from the Trump administration, and they do nothing to quell the potential for violence on the part of Donald Trump's followers.

Right-wing extremists in Michigan have been very vocal in their opposition to Whitmer's safety restrictions throughout the pandemic.

Back in April, Trump egged them on with a tweet urging "LIBERATE MICHIGAN!"

A month later, armed mobs stormed the state Capitol to protest Whitmer's stay-at-home order. Trump backed the mob, demanding that she give in to its demands.

"The Governor of Michigan should give a little, and put out the fire," Trump said. "These are very good people, but they are angry. They want their lives back again, safely! See them, talk to them, make a deal."

In October, the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested several people on charges of conspiracy to kidnap and overthrow Whitmer. Trump reacted by continuing to attack Whitmer, leading his supporters in a "Lock her up!" chant at rallies.

Trump also continued to hold rallies that might have been superspreader events in Michigan and elsewhere at which social distancing and mask use were not on display, after which there were upticks in the number of coronavirus cases in the communities that hosted them.

On Sunday, there were more than 155,000 new cases of the virus reported and more than 1,200 new deaths in the United States. Trump has not attended a meeting of his coronavirus task force in months.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.