Kelly McParland on COVID-19: the dangerous game of Donald Trump

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On Friday, in a country with the world’s heaviest armed citizens and a long history of tragedies involving these weapons, residents of several states were encouraged to “free themselves” from the perceived inequities of their elected governments.

The call came from US President Donald Trump, who launched tweets urging people to “RELEASE THE MICHIGAN! “RELEASE MINNESOTA! “And” RELEASE VIRGINIA! The last of the three added a cry to protect the second amendment – that a “well-regulated militia, being necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms must not to be raped. This right – to load an arsenal of weapons and ammunition – is “under siege,” Trump said.

His tweets were aimed at states with Democratic governors and were supposed to pressure those governors to start lifting the restrictions that have been put in place to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Small demonstrations took place in several places. Those from Michigan presented men dressed in their best camouflage equipment and rocking their favorite weapons, just in case an Iranian team hit the corner with bad intentions. A few hundred protesters in Austin protested “martial law” – that is, the requirement that stores remain closed while people die in large numbers – while conspiracy theorist Alex Jones compared residence orders to Nazi tyranny. A sign has strangely grouped Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci and Mike Pompeo, Trump’s uncompromising Loyalist Secretary of State, into a list of suspects to report .

People participate in a demonstration for “Michiganders Against Excessive Quarantine” at the Michigan State Capitol on April 15.


JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP

Fortunately, no one started shooting, which is a blessing to appreciate in a country where it doesn’t take much to start a massacre. There have been 417 mass shootings in the United States last year, more than there are days in the year, according to records of gun violence, which defines a mass shootout as any incident in which at least four people were killed. Of this total, 31 were classified as mass murders.

A president with qualities that Trump does not have could hesitate before flirting with such a dangerous material, but it is characteristic of this president that he does not think too much about the result when lighting a fuse. He recalls his enthusiasm for the untested COVID-19 miracle cures, including an antimalarial drug, which he repeatedly urged to try, despite warnings from doctors and his own health experts. “What have you got to lose? He asked, not thinking about the possibility that this was their life.

We know this is what the American president looks like and we have grown so used to pushing the ever wider limits of the indefensible that even a public incitement to rebellion is only routinely mentioned. What is also remarkable in this case is that although the governors of both parties have shut down local economies across the country, Trump has only targeted three states that have Democratic leaders and will be crucial in his hopes re-election.

People protest the economic stoppage in the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing on the coronavirus pandemic on April 15.


JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP

There are only seven months left before the election, and Trump’s forces fear the crater economy will reduce its chances. He went wild as the number of unemployed increased and businesses closed. He said he had “absolute authority” to reopen the country even though most of the power belongs to state governments, and urged democratic governors to ease restrictions even as his administration issued directives urging local leaders to act with caution and restraint.

Trump’s impulse is always to blame the blame. In this case, China is an obvious target, given the mounting evidence that Beijing has withheld information about the scale of the epidemic, underreported the deaths and punished those who spoke publicly about the dangers. To this end, the pro-Trump Super PACs have tried attack ads with the hashtag #BeijingBiden, hoping to tarnish the Democratic candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden, as being gentle on China. Biden’s campaign responded with his own ad including video clips of Trump praising China and his leadership until the first weeks of the epidemic, saying, “They are working very, very hard and I think everything will be OK. “

If this is the foreground of the campaign, it seems unrealistic to expect it to become anything but ugly. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer was one of many women on Biden’s list of potential candidates, and was the victim of specific abuse by the President, who attacked her in a grammatically tweet challenged as “Half Whitmer”, claiming that it “is well above its lead [sic], she has no idea. Likes to blame everyone for their own nonsense! “

On April 15, people take part in a demonstration for “Michiganders Against Excessive Quarantine” at the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing.


JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP

Trump regularly abuses, insults and belittles women, and brags about how he can be groped. Sending gun rights fanatics to the streets to “break free” of it is extreme behavior by all standards. Will the Governor of Michigan need additional security to protect himself from supporters of the President of the country? Would that surprise anyone?

Whitmer didn’t bite, replying that “COVID-19 is the enemy, not each other. Trump’s narrow victory in Michigan in 2016 was a major contribution to his overall success. But five polls since February have all shown him behind Biden. If he is still late in October, everyone can guess what kind of uprising he will imagine necessary to save him and how far he will go to incite him.

National Post
Twitter.com/kellymcparland



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