President Donald Trump has bashed governors who he says have taken shutdown orders too far in the coronavirus pandemic, saying ‘some of them are being unreasonable’ as protests against the lockdowns spread across the nation.
‘There are a lot of protests out there, and I just think that some of the governors have gotten carried away,’ Trump said at a White House briefing on Saturday, as protests grew in cities across the country.
On Saturday, thousands of protesters gathered in the state capitals of Texas, Indiana, New Hampshire, Maryland and elsewhere, demanding relaxation of the stay-at-home orders which have left millions jobless. Other protests in dozens of states are already being planned in the coming weeks.
Several hundred people rallied in Texas’ capital of Austin on Saturday, chanting ‘Let us work!’ Many clamored for an immediate lifting of restrictions in a state where more than 1 million have filed for unemployment since the crisis began.
The rally was organized by a host of Infowars, owned by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who joined protesters on the Capitol steps after rolling up in a tank-like truck.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, has said that non-essential business that can operate curb-side service will be allowed to re-open on Friday — but the protesters are demanding faster and broader action.
President Donald Trump has bashed governors who he says have taken shutdown orders too far in the coronavirus pandemic, saying ‘some of them are being unreasonable’
Fringe radio host Alex Jones, founder of the Infowars site, rolled up at the Austin protest in a tank-like truck on Saturday
Alex Jones speaks to protesters demonstrating against the state’s extended stay-at-home order to help slow the spread of coronavirus disease in Texas
A protester holds up a sign that reads ‘Prevent Economic Collapse’ at the Texas State Capital building on Saturday
The Texas protest was organized by Infowars host Owen Shroyer who is joining other protesters across the country in taking to the streets to call for the country to be opened up despite the risk of the COVID-19
‘It’s time to reopen Texas, it’s time to let people work, it’s time for them to let voluntary interaction and good sense rule the day, not government force,’ said Justin Greiss, an activist with Young Americans for Liberty, at the Austin protest.
Added stay-at-home mother Amira Abuzeid: ‘I’m not a doctor but I’m an intelligent person who can do math and it looks like at the end of the day, these numbers are not that worrisome.’
In a string of tweets on Saturday, Trump ripped Democrats, accusing them of trying to score political points rather than try to solve the crisis.
‘No matter what you do for the Do Nothing Democrats, no matter how GREAT a job you are doing, they will only respond to their Fake partners in the Lamestream Media in the negative, even in a time of crisis,’ Trump fumed, recalling what he said was an unpleasant phone conference between Senate Democrats and Vice President Mike Pence on Friday.
‘They were RUDE and NASTY,’ Trump said. ‘This is their political playbook, and they will use it right up to the election on November 3rd. They will not change because they feel that this is the only way they can win.’
Other protests took place across the country on Saturday. In Indianapolis, more than 200 people stood close together outside the governor’s mansion, carrying American flags and signs demanding that Governor Eric Holcomb, a Republican, lift restrictions.
‘Our goal is to lift up our voices so that the governor will lift his unconstitutional restrictions because his cure is worse than the disease,’ organizers of the Indiana protest said in a statement. ‘The government cure has done more harm than the disease!’
Indiana’s state health department reported 529 new coronavirus cases between April 7 and midday Friday, raising the total to more than 10,600. The number of deaths rose by 26, to 545.
Protesters gather outside the Indiana Governor’s mansion in Indianapolis, Saturday, urging Gov. Eric Holcomb to back off restrictions on Indiana residents because of the coronavirus, and restart the economy
‘Our goal is to lift up our voices so that the governor will lift his unconstitutional restrictions because his cure is worse than the disease,’ organizers of the Indiana protest said in a statement
In Indianapolis, more than 200 people stood close together outside the governor’s mansion, carrying American flags and signs demanding that Governor Eric Holcomb, a Republican, lift restrictions
Indiana’s state health department reported 529 new coronavirus cases between April 7 and midday Friday, raising the total to more than 10,600. The number of deaths rose by 26, to 545
Demonstrators outside Maryland’s colonial-era statehouse in Annapolis stayed in their cars but waved signs with messages like ‘Poverty kills too.’
More than 200 cars circled the statehouse, honking horns and waving banners and American flags.
Dolores, a hairdresser in Maryland, said she is not eligible for unemployment because she is a business owner, not an employee.
‘I need to save my business. I need to work to live. Otherwise I will die,’ she said.
An image made with a drone shows the vehicles of supporters of the group ‘Reopen Maryland’ filing into Church Circle to protest the state’s on-going stay-at-home order due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic in Annapolis on Saturday
A protestor waving an American flag rides by the State House during a demonstration calling for the re-opening of Maryland
Protesters with the group Reopen Maryland rally near the State House to call on the state to lift the stay-at-home order and reopen the economy on Saturday in Annapolis, Maryland
Protesters, one holding a framed copy of the Constitution, argue with another motorist while demonstrating near the State House to call on the state to life the stay-at-home order and reopen the economy on Saturday in Annapolis, Maryland
And in Concord, New Hampshire, roughly 400 people gathered in the cold rain to send a message that extended quarantines were not necessary.
The crowd included several armed men wearing military-style uniforms, with their faces covered.
‘Even if the virus were 10 times as dangerous as it is, I still wouldn´t stay inside my home. I´d rather take the risk and be a free person,’ said one of the New Hampshire protesters, talk show host Ian Freeman.
In Concord, New Hampshire, people attend a demonstration against the government mandated lockdown on Saturday
A truck emblazoned with support for Donald Trump drives through downtown during a demonstration against the government lockdown in New Hampshire on Saturday
A man wears combat gear during a demonstration against the government lockdown in New Hampshire on Saturday
Members of the Boogaloo Movement, attend a demonstration against the lockdown Saturday in New Hampshire
At his Saturday briefing, Trump singled out Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, saying ‘she has things, ‘don’t buy paint, don’t buy roses’ — I mean she’s got all of these crazy things.’
‘Somebody sitting in their boat on a lake should be ok. They shouldn’t arrest people,’ Trump added, referring to Michigan’s stay-at-home order which prohibits jet skis, motorboats or other comparable watercraft but allows for canoes, sailboats and kayaks.
In a tweet, Whitmer fired back, saying: ‘Right now, despite having the 10th largest population, we have the 3rd highest COVID-19 deaths in the nation. I’m using every tool at my disposal to save lives, and it’s working. The curve is flattening.’
‘Remember: COVID-19 is the enemy, not each other,’ she added.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer fired back, saying: ‘Right now, despite having the 10th largest population, we have the 3rd highest COVID-19 deaths in the nation. I’m using every tool at my disposal to save lives, and it’s working.’
It follows Trump’s incendiary tweets on Friday demanding to ‘LIBERATE’ Michigan, Minnesota and Virginia, three potential swing states with Democratic governors.
Trump also talked at length about testing capacity, saying that the U.S. has ‘tremendous testing capacity’ after governors argued that relaxing social restrictions would be disastrous until testing is much more widely available.
Trump said that more than four million tests had been conducted nationwide, which is the equivalent of about 1.2 percent of the U.S. population.
The president claimed that the country has ‘tremendous unused capability’ and that many states are not using testing kits properly, utilizing only a fraction of the capacity of high-throughput tests.
‘Unfortunately some partisan voices are attempting to politicize the issue of testing which they shouldn’t be doing,’ he said.
‘This was a military and private enterprises march. We marched and unfortunately they’re viewing it as an election,’ Trump added. ‘This should not be a partisan witch-hunt like the Russia witch-hunt.’
Trump said that some states had requested massive numbers of ventilators that they had never ended up needing. He also pointed out that the military had built thousands of field hospital beds in New York City that are now going mostly unused.
Across the country, protests have been mounting calling on governors to relax shutdown orders and allow people to go back to work.
Trump said that Texas and Vermont will allow certain businesses to reopen on Monday while still observing coronavirus-related precautions and Montana will begin lifting restrictions on Friday.
‘We continue to see a number of positive signs that the virus has passed its peak,’ Trump told reporters at the briefing.
Some state governors have warned that they will not act prematurely to reopen their economies until there is more testing for the virus, however.
Business leaders have also told Trump the country needs to have widespread testing in place before their companies can return to normal operations.
On Saturday, Trump said ‘our testing is getting better and better,’ but offered no concrete evidence.
He said both Republican and Democratic governors ‘have announced concrete steps to begin a safe and gradual phased opening.’
Texas and Vermont ‘will allow certain business to open on Monday while still requiring appropriate social distancing precautions,’ he said.
On Saturday morning, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York, epicenter of the U.S. epidemic, said his coronavirus-battered state may finally be past the worst of the health crisis there.
Trump is pushing to relax the U.S. lockdown by May 1, a plan that hinges partly on more testing.
Public health officials said the ability to test enough people and trace contacts of the infected is crucial before easing restrictions, and that infections could surge anew unless people continue to take precautions.
Vice President Mike Pence delivered a commencement address at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado, a trip aimed at showing the country is on course to gradually reopen.
Trump said of the graduating Air Force officers: ‘they’re being very politically correct, standing not six feet but ten feet apart.’
Covid anger splits US: Texas crowd chants ‘fire Fauci’ and armed demonstrators swarm New Hampshire state house demanding lockdown be lifted while anti-Trump protesters in New York dump fake body bags outside president’s properties
Protestors at an anti-lockdown rally in Texas yelled ‘fire Fauci’ in a targeted chant against President Trump’s top medical advisor, as thousands of Americans defied stay-at-home and social distancing orders at rallies.
Meanwhile, anti-Trump activists launched counter-protests outside of the president’s properties and laid body bags on the ground.
Hundreds of protestors gathered at the capitol building in Austin on Saturday to fight the state’s coronavirus stay-at-home orders. The Texas protest was organized by Owen Shroyer and attended by Alex Jones from Infowars.
Cell phone footage from the protest showed people hoisting Trump 2020 flags and anti-lockdown signs into the air while calling for the dismissal of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top immunologist and infectious disease expert.
Since the global disease was first detected in Washington state, Dr. Fauci has become a leading public health expert in President Trump’s coronavirus response.
Protestors in Austin, Texas, screamed ‘fire Facui’ in a targeted chant against Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top immunologist and infectious disease expert
Pictured: Infowars host Alex Jones, who helped organize the protest, marches with protesters during the “Reopen America” rally on Saturday
Fauci is often seen near Trump during daily briefings and COVID-19 press conferences where he updates the public on health developments.
The crowds chants come after Trump publicly showed support for the anti-lockdown protests and repeatedly contradicted Facui’s public health recommendations.
Texas announced that it would be the first state to re-open amid the COVID-19 pandemic next week.
Retailers will be able to open again next Friday but on a to-go basis, meaning they must deliver to people’s homes, cars or other places.
A woman who helped organize a COVID-19 anti-lockdown protest in New Jersey was charged for defying stay-at-home orders on Friday, authorities said.
The New Jersey Attorney General’s office said Kim Pagan, of Toms River, was charged with violating emergency orders after she organized a protest against the state’s lockdown in Trenton.
Gov. Phil Murphy first implemented the coronavirus emergency orders last month. New Jersey has at least 78,467 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 3,840 deaths.
Video shared to Facebook by Central Jersey Libertarians showed a police officer writing summonses as protestors shout and honk their cars’ horns near the statehouse.
Cell phone footage taken from the protest showed a New Jersey police officer writing summonses as upset protesters yelled and defiantly honked their car horns
On Friday, anti-lockdown protestors in Trenton, New Jersey, held a rally hitting back at Gov. Phil Murphy’s coronavirus emergency lockdown orders that have closed nonessential businesses and mandated stay-at-home orders
‘We have a right to peacefully protest,’ one woman shouted, as the officer walked by a car window that reads ‘playdemic.’
State stay-at-home protests also popped up in a Walmart parking lot in Hamilton. Protesters arrived with signs, American flags and wrote anti-lockdown messages on car windows, NBC New York reports.
One window read: ‘MURPHY’S LAW WORSE THAN COVID-19.’
Gov. Murphy said New Jersey’s coronavirus curve has not yet plateaued.
He said: ‘Even if the rate of our increase is lessening, which it’s hard to argue it hasn’t over the past week, we have two realities that we cannot escape. One is it is still increasing.
‘So with all due respect to this notion that we’ve found some plateau, we’re not at any plateau.’
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (pictured) instated COVID-19 lockdown orders last week as he told residents cases have not yet plateaued
In recent days, thousands of Americans have flooded the streets with anti-lockdown protests as President Donald Trump voiced his support to ‘liberate’ states on Twitter.
Protests have appeared in several states like Oklahoma, Texas, Idaho, Virginia, Michigan, Florida, California, Kentucky, Ohio, North Carolina and Minnesota.
A few hundred demonstrators cheered and waved signs outside the New Hampshire State House on Saturday during a call to reopen the state, the Associated Press reported.
Members of the crowd carried signs with slogans such as ‘Live Free or Die,’ the state’s motto. Others included ‘Restore Jobs’ and ‘Kiss My Constitution.’
One demonstrator, talk show host Ian Freeman, said the government was guilty of fear-mongering over the state of the virus, and it was time to restore individual rights.
Pictured: Members of the Boogaloo Movement, attend a demonstration against the lockdown over concern about COVID-19 at the State House
‘Even if the virus were 10 times as dangerous as it is, I still wouldn’t stay inside my home. I’d rather take the risk and be a free person,’ he said.
New Hampshire has had nearly 1,300 cases of the virus and more than three dozens deaths through Friday.
‘ReOpen Maryland’, an anti-lockdown group, protested the state orders Saturday in downtown Annapolis with a procession of vehicles.
The Capital Gazette reported that most protestors remained in their cars – as to keep with social distancing guidelines – and held signs out the window.
The group demanded in an online petition that Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan should re-open businesses, religious facilities and schools.
State Republican delegates pushed back at Hogan’s mandates in a letter Saturday where they asked he relaxed restrictions in certain regions.
‘We fundamentally believe that what works in one region of the state may not be applicable to others,” members of the House of Delegates Republican,’ the letter read.
Pictured: Members of the Boogaloo Movement, attend a demonstration against the lockdown over concern about COVID-19 at the State House in Annapolis
‘ReOpen Maryland’, an anti-lockdown group, protested the state orders Saturday in downtown Annapolis with a procession of vehicles
The Republican officials also asked that ‘local review boards’ be created to watchdog county health officers’ power and to end the ban on recreational activities like boating.
Spokesperson Mike Ricci responded on behalf of Hogan and said the suggestions were appreciated.
‘We’re all on the same page: we want to get Maryland open again as soon as it is safe,’ he said. ‘We appreciate these ideas, and will continue coordinating with legislators as the governor prepares to unveil the state’s roadmap to recovery.’
The Virginia capitol building saw three anti-lockdown groups join forces on Thursday morning to hit back at lockdown orders. Gov. Ralph Northam closed nonessential businesses until May 8.
Protester Marco Caceres told NBC 12: ‘Who is he to determine what is essential in our society and what is not? I believe the liquor stores are open. Is that essential? There are a lot of things that are open that many people don’t consider essential.
Pictured: A demonstrator holds a sign at the Virginia State Capitol on Thursday while protesting the coronavirus lockdown
Marco Caceres: ‘You’re trying to supposedly cure a problem but you’re doing more damage in my opinion than you are trying to cure the problem by forcing people to stay in their homes, not be able to earn a living, you know isolation kills, too’
Three anti-lockdown groups in Virginia banded together to protest the state’s stay-at-home orders on Friday
Like other state protestors, the Virginians forwent face masks and gloves during the rally.
‘The reason why I’m not wearing a mask is that I’m not going to have someone tell me I have to,’ said protester Benjamin Wright.
‘It seems ridiculous to me that a lot of businesses are closed. A lot of my friends who own their businesses are in risk of going out of business over this.’
Pictured: Demonstrators, using simulated body bags for props, protest President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic in Chicago, Illinois
Anti-Trump activists rallied in front of Trump properties across the country with body bags meant to represent the lives lost due to Trump’s outbreak response.
A group of protestors gathered in Chicago, Illinois, on Saturday with at least seven makeshift body bags.
Further west, activists with Refuse Fascism also put fake body bags in front of Trump International Hotel & Tower New York to protest Trump.
Some signs placed atop the body bags read ‘This represents 1000+ health care workers who died of COVID-19’ and ‘This represents immigrants who died in ICE custody.’
One body bag used in the Chicago anti-Trump protest had a sign that read ‘humanity first! Trump: restore funding to WHO’
Activists with Refuse Fascism protested President Trump’s COVID-19 response in front of Trump International Hotel & Tower New York
One body placed in front of Trump International Hotel & Tower New York read ‘This represents 1000+ health care workers who died of COVID-19’
President Trump doubled down on his tweets to ‘LIBERATE’ Minnesota, Michigan and Virginia, telling reporters Friday evening that the Democratic governors in those states went too far – and the protesters were treated badly.
‘You could get the same result out of doing a little bit less,’ Trump said of the stay at home orders in those three states. ‘You know, they’ve been treated a little bit rough,’ he said of those protesting against the lockdowns, who were often photographed wearing pro-Trump paraphernalia.
Trump admitted that he singled out Virginia because the state’s governor, Democrat Ralph Northam, had signed a new gun control law.
President Trump doubled down on his tweets to ‘LIBERATE’ Michigan, Virginia and Minnesota on Friday saying he thought protesters who were mad about the Democratic governors’ stay at home orders were ‘treated a little bit rough’