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Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

Donald Trump urged Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday to give in to the demands of the armed mob of protesters who stormed the state Capitol a day earlier.

"The Governor of Michigan should give a little, and put out the fire," he tweeted. "These are very good people, but they are angry. They want their lives back again, safely! See them, talk to them, make a deal."


Trump was referencing a protest Thursday by hundreds of people — many armed — at the Capitol in Lansing. Angry about Whitmer's stay-at-home order, they chanted "lock her up" and "heil Whitmer." Some entered the building and unsuccessfully demanded to be allowed on the floor of the House of Representatives as the chamber considered whether to continue Michigan's state of emergency. Many of the protesters wore no face coverings.

The protests were part of a national effort by far-right groups to rally against state stay-at-home orders aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Similar protests of varying size have occurred in other states, including Alabama, California, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia. Trump has egged on the protesters, with tweets urging them to "liberate" states run by Democratic governors, including one such tweet about Michigan.

Polls have shown that the vast majority of Americans — and even most Republicans — support the social distancing requirements.

Whitmer ordered most residents to stay at home on March 23, with an initial end day of April 13. She first extended the order through April and recently continued much of it through May 15.

Republican state lawmakers have repeatedly sought to limit Whitmer's emergency powers and have criticized her orders.

"OUR Governor IS DESTROYING OUR HEALTH BY KILLING OUR LIVELIHOODS!" State Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey wrote last month on Facebook. "Under the guise of protecting our health....she is DESTROYING our HEALTH by killing our Livelihoods."

Last month, protesters flouting social distancing rules and safety guidelines gathered at the Capitol to yell, "We will not comply" with the stay-at-home order. Those protests were organized by the Michigan Conservative Coalition and Michigan Freedom Fund, which has ties to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

At the time, Trump dismissed concerns that they had ignored local authorities and praised them for being Trump supporters. "I think they're listening. I think they listen to me," he said. "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."

The Republican-controlled legislature voted against extending Michigan's emergency declaration on Thursday and authorized a lawsuit challenging Whitmer's authority to respond to the coronavirus crisis.

As of Friday, Michigan has confirmed 41,379 COVID-19 cases and 3,789 reported deaths.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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