President Trump is being widely condemned for appearing to back protesters in three states with Democratic governors who are protesting extended stay-at-home orders which are in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
One day after Trump reportedly told governors they would "call the shots" in determining when to lift social distancing guidelines in their states, he sent a series of inflammatory tweets which have been interpreted as supportive of demonstrators against Democratic governors in Minnesota, Michigan and Virginia.
Trump also made a reference to the state's expanded background checks and limits on gun purchases signed into law last week.
These states are widely considered to be as swing contests in the 2020 presidential election. Trump surprised pundits by winning Michigan in 2016 and he’s targeting Minnesota and Virginia in 2020.
The tweets seem like a drastic change in tone from Thursday, when Trump was asked about the protests and said he agreed with most governors.
I think they listen to me.
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.
But now it seems like Trump is trying to shift any hostility towards the handling of coronavirus towards state governors. He even called people who are protesting, many of whom are heavily armed, "very responsible people".
On Twitter, people couldn’t believe that Trump appeared to be encouraging civil unrest against governors trying to stop the spread of the virus.
Trump's tweets are even more worrying considering protesters in Michigan were seen brandishing automatic weapons.
Tonight Trump said Virginia’s Governor should be “under siege”
He’s not only inciting civil unrest - he’s encourag… https://t.co/QQrF1ODbV3
— Read Teaching to Transgress by bell hooks (@Read Teaching to Transgress by bell hooks)
.@Jack @TwitterSafety you should ban him from your platform. He is encouraging violence and death. https://t.co/xnZWSEPX2q