Apr 19, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Inslee says Trump's "liberate" tweets are encouraging "illegal activity"

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday that President Trump's calls on Twitter to "LIBERATE" states from coronavirus lockdowns last week are "dangerous" and "encourage illegal activity."

Why it matters: Several governors have said that the president's comments damaged efforts to contain the spread of the virus and even contradicted his own recommendations, which say that states shouldn't reopen unless they've reported 14 days of declines.

What he's saying: "We have an order from governors — both Republicans and Democrats — that basically are designed to protect people's health, literally their lives," Inslee said. "To have a president of the United States basically encourage insubordination, to encourage illegal activity — these orders actually are the law of these states."

  • "To have an American president to encourage people to violate the law — I can't remember any time during my time in America where we have seen such a thing."
  • "It is dangerous because it can inspire people to ignore things that actually can save their lives. And I don't know that there's another way to characterize it."
  • "And it is doubly frustrating to us governors because this is such a schizophrenia. Because the president is basically asking people, 'Please ignore Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx. Please ignore my own guidelines that I set forth.'"

The other side: Vice President Mike Pence said on "Fox News Sunday" that Trump's tweets are meant to “encourage governors to find ways to safely and responsibly let America go back to work," denying that they are a form of incitement.

Go deeper: Governors respond to Trump's calls to "liberate" states from virus restrictions

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