In an abrupt about-face, President Trump today called on his supporters to “liberate America” from the stay-at-home orders associated with the Covid-19 crisis, which he said were concocted by Democrats and fueled by the fake news media.
“There is no pandemic,” tweeted the president, “Never has been, never was, TAKE BACK OUR COUNTRY. NOW!” Boarding the presidential helicopter this morning, he was confronted by several in the news media asking why he had supported these stay-at-home measures before and in fact had just issued directives for governors to proceed with a gradual loosening of restrictions. The president lashed out at the reporters, arguing that he never claimed that the country was experiencing a pandemic. “These are all lies by the fake news media. Total lies. I have said from the get-go that just like the global warming nonsense, the whole thing is a hoax. I want everyone back to work!”
“Look,” said the president, “More people die each year in automobile accidents than have died in this fake pandemic. It is all an attempt to make me look bad during an election year, to hurt my businesses, and to kill the strongest economy the world has ever seen, the economy which I created basically single-handedly by the way. My supporters understand this and will have none of it. These reckless stay-at-home actions have put over 22 million Americans out of work. And so, my rallies will continue; and if my supporters want to protest at the statehouses occupied by dictatorial, Democratic governors, I say just do it. Take ‘em over if you have to! Do whatever it takes to liberate these states, and the federal government will be behind you.”
Vice President Pence was the first to praise the president, saying to reporters, as he typically does whenever given a chance to speak, that Trump is the “greatest ruler of all time,” and that Trump’s call for the end of “so called health restrictions” was long overdue. Led by Mitch McConnell and Lindsay Graham, most Republican senators were quick to fall in line, congratulating the president for his “courageous leadership.” Strong encouragement also came from the Kremlin when this morning President Putin offered his support in whatever ways would help President Trump including the use of the Russian military, if requested.
It remains unclear what will happen next. Large mobs are gathering today on the grounds of most state capitols where a Democrat is governor. Many of the protestors are armed with assault weapons and hand grenades, and several in the news media have reported seeing rocket launchers. It is rumored that some of the agitators may have access to nuclear weapons. Several observers have noted that the actions appear to be planned and well organized. Some eyewitnesses to these gathering also report hearing what sounds like the Russian language being spoken.
The country remains in what has been described by many as the biggest crisis most of us will experience in our life times. Virtually all health care experts have warned that lifting the physical distancing orders now, before extensive testing is in place, will have a disastrous effect allowing the Covid-19 coronavirus to spread like wildfire. They say that the reason that the fatalities have been lower than what was forecasted is due to the rigorous distancing regulations and the closing of businesses and nonessential activities, and that deaths are likely to skyrocket if people are suddenly allowed and encouraged to go back to work.
Many in the country, especially Democratic Party elected officials, appeared to have been caught off guard by Trump’s tweets and his support for the protesters, and are unclear as to how to respond. Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader Schumer are meeting this afternoon with other leading Democrats including the apparent nominee for president, Joe Biden, to develop a response to Trump’s actions. If Trump orders the U.S. military to assist actions by protestors to take over local and state governments, it is not clear what the outcome will be. Attorney General William Barr is reported to have urged the president to declare a national state of emergency, temporarily suspend the U.S. Constitution, postpone indefinitely all elections, and put the country under martial law. President Trump is said to be seriously considering these options.