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Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) expressed confusion on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday about President Trump's calls on Twitter to "LIBERATE" several states from coronavirus lockdowns last week, claiming he's contradicting the federal government's own plan for governors.

Why it matters: Hundreds of Americans violated social distancing orders over the weekend to hold protests opposing state closures of businesses and schools. Trump encouraged them to do so in Minnesota, Michigan and Virginia — three states with Democratic governors.

What he's saying: "I don't think it's helpful to encourage demonstrations and encourage people to go against the president's own policy," Hogan said.

  • "The president's policy says you can't start to reopen under his plan until you have declining numbers for 14 days, which those states and my state do not have. So then to encourage people to go protest the plan that you just made recommendations on Thursday — it just doesn't make any sense."
  • Hogan added that he understands the frustration of living under a lockdown, and he said that state governments are "doing everything we possibly can to reopen in a safe manner."

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D), one of the governors who Trump has targeted, said on CNN that "this is not the time for protests, this is not the time for divisiveness. This is time for leadership that will stand up and provide empathy. It's the time for truth."

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) didn't respond directly to Trump, but said on CNN regarding the protests: "The hard part of public health is when you're doing a good job, you're saving lives, and it's hard to quantify precisely what that looks like."

  • "But we know that this curve was steep at the trajectory we were headed and now it looks as though it's starting to flatten," she continued. "These efforts are making a difference in saving lives. We've got to continue doing that."

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) called the tweets "dangerous" and claimed that they encouraged "illegal activity."

  • "To have an American president 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."

The other side: Vice President Mike Pence claimed on "Fox News Sunday" that Trump's tweets, which many have argued are inciting unrest in these states, are meant to “encourage governors to find ways to safely and responsibly let America go back to work.”

Go deeper ... In photos: Americans gather to protest social distancing

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - World

Pentagon: 8,500 troops on high alert for possible deployment to eastern Europe

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has placed 8,500 U.S. troops on "heightened preparedness to deploy" to eastern Europe in case NATO activates its rapid-response force over tensions with Russia, the Pentagon announced Monday.

Why it matters: No decisions have been made to deploy U.S. forces, but the heightened alert level will allow the military to rapidly shore up NATO's eastern flank in the event that Russia invades Ukraine. The Pentagon warned that Russia has shown "no signs of de-escalating," and continues to amass troops on Ukraine's borders.

Alabama's new congressional map rejected by federal judges

The Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery. Photo: Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Federal judges on Monday night blocked Alabama's newly drawn congressional map and ordered the Republican-led State Legislature to create a new one that includes two districts, rather than the planned one.

Why it matters: "Black voters have less opportunity than other Alabamians to elect candidates of their choice to Congress," the panel of three judges wrote in their ruling.

Australian Open organizers reverse "Where is Peng Shuai?" t-shirt ban

Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai during the 2020 Australian Open in Melbourne. Photo: Bai Xue/Xinhua via Getty Images

Australian Open organizers on Tuesday reversed a ban on t-shirts supporting Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai following widespread criticism.

Why it matters: Tennis Australia's announcement came less than 24 hours after the governing body defended the decision to ask fans last Friday to remove "Where is Peng Shuai?" t-shirts, citing ticket policy prohibiting political clothing, per the BBC.