Trump ‘encouraging people to violate law,’ risks virus spread – Gov. Inslee

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Gov. Jay Inslee 

President Donald Trump’s message to liberate states is basically encouraging people to break the law, Gov. Jay Inslee said on Sunday on ABC’s “This Week”.

“To have an American president to encourage people to violate the law, I can’t remember any time in my time in America we have seen such a thing.

“It is dangerous because it could inspire people to ignore things that could save their lives,” Inslee told ABC Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos.

“And it is doubly frustrating to us governors. The president is asking people ‘please ignore Dr Fauci, Dr Birx, please ignore my own guidelines I set forth,’” the governor added.

Trump has repeatedly said in his daily briefings that he did not believe that protests against stay-at-home orders were putting people at risk of spreading or getting COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

The president repeated those statements in his briefing on Saturday.

The two officials have steadily upped the ante in their war of words.

Inslee on Friday stated that Trump’s “unhinged rantings and calls for people to ‘liberate’ states could also lead to violence. We’ve seen it before.”

On Sunday, on “This Week” Inslee said he hoped there could be “restoration of leadership in the White House.”

The exchange came before some Washingtonians planned to gather in Olympia and elsewhere to “defend liberty,” demonstrate the right to assemble and gather signatures for petitions that defend the second amendment and repeal the state’s new comprehensive sex education bill.

While Trump and some states are advocating a quick reopening of the country, Inslee is counselling caution.

He has encouraged people in Washington – the first COVID-19 epicentre in the country – to continue to observe his order to stay home, to stay healthy.

Washington Tribes enacted shelter in place orders even sooner than the governor, with four tribes, the Hoh, Quileute, Quinault, and Makah also closing their reservations to outsiders.

Inslee told Stephanopoulos that he understood the hardship of the stay-at-home order as time stretched on.

“Everybody is very anxious to have a date, you know. They’re wanting to get out and see their grandkids; they’re wanting to get back to work.

“People without a paycheck have extreme anxiety about this and so this is something very, very deep, to have that date to be able to shoot for, obviously, no one has a crystal ball.

“It’s not safe yet to lift precautions. We still haven’t gotten the curve going down, we’re still plateaued.

“We want to make sure we wrestle this beast to the ground.

“And the reason is, you have to get the infections down to a low enough number where you can handle it through very rigorous testing,” Inslee said.

It may be possible to begin opening some parts of the Washington State’s economy in the coming weeks – but it won’t be all at once, Inslee said, adding: “This isn’t a light switch.”

He has likened the more likely to pace of a return to normalcy to turning a dial … slowly.

Inslee also countered Trump on the safety of all vote by mail elections.

Trump has described such balloting as subject to fraud but Inslee called the state’s vote by mail system “tremendous work for democracy because it’s the easiest, safest, most reliable voting there is.

“Our numbers have gone up in voter participation. It’s been a spectacular success.

“When people risk their lives to go physically vote right now with this COVID epidemic, I know there are some in the other party who are afraid more people will vote if we have (mail-in voting). That shouldn’t fear. It should be a hope.” (dpa. NAN)

– Apr. 20, 2020 @ 9:15 GMT |

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