May 3, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Michigan governor denounces protestors with Confederate flags and swastikas

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday that the protestors calling to reopen her state while bearing Nazi symbols and Confederate flags are "not representative of who we are in Michigan," denouncing them for celebrating "some of the worst racism and awful parts of our history in this country."

The big picture: The demonstrators largely began last month after President Trump tweeted "Liberate Michigan" and called for Whitmer to loosen the state's stay-at-home order. Last week, armed protestors breached the Michigan Capitol where lawmakers were voting on whether to extend the state's emergency declaration.

  • On Friday, Trump tweeted that these protestors are "very good people" and that Whitmer "should give a little, and put out the fire."
  • The tweet drew comparisons by some Democrats to his comments calling protestors at the deadly 2017 "Unite the Right" rally "very fine people."

What they're saying:

"The Confederate flags, the nooses, the swastikas, the behavior that you've seen in all of the clips is not representative of who we are in Michigan. And the fact of the matter is, we're in a global pandemic. This isn't something we just negotiate ourselves out of as a political matter. This is a public health crisis."
— Gretchen Whitmer

The big picture: Michigan, which has been one of the hotspots for the coronavirus in the U.S., has maintained one of the nation's strictest stay-at-home orders, prompting backlash from those who want to see the economy reopened.

  • "Whether you agree with me or not, I'm working to protect your life if you live in the state of Michigan," Whitmer said.
  • "I'm going to continue to do my job, regardless of what tweets come out or what polls come out. ... We're going to listen to facts and science because we've got to get this right," she added.

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