But in the massive protest against Whitmer’s executive order to stay at home – which they say is excessive and beyond his authority – organizers’ pleas that the protesters stay in their vehicles went unanswered. Many got out of their cars and crashed into the lawn of the Capitol building, some chanting, “Lock it up!” and “We will not comply! “
” Do you think [Whitmer] listen? Breitbart News reporter Kyle Olson asked one of the organizers, Meshawn Maddock, a leader of the Michigan Conservative Coalition, on Facebook Live.
“Oh my God, how could she not listen to this? Maddock replied, adding, “There is no reason why today she couldn’t go out and say,” Michigan, I can hear you, and it’s time to get the workers back to work. “”
The governor had heard a lot. She responded to the protest at her press conference on Wednesday, saying she was “disappointed” with mostly masked protesters and those in cars, who affected the bus service and even blocked an ambulance (which the organizers denied).
Whitmer said protesters could have made matters worse in a state already treating more than 28,000 confirmed cases of the nation’s third worst coronavirus. The protest, called “Operation Gridlock,” “endangered people’s lives,” she said.
“We know this event will have a cost to people’s health,” said Whitmer. “We know that when people come together this way without masks … this is how covid-19 is spread. And so the sad irony here is that the protest was that they don’t like being in this order to stay home, and they may have just created a need to extend it, which we’re trying to avoid from all fresh. “
Coming from similar protests in Ohio and North Carolina, this was probably the largest demonstration to date of conservative pushback against restrictions on social distancing – and perhaps a glimpse of what’s s is coming.
The Michigan Conservative Coalition and the Michigan Freedom Fund – founded by Greg McNeilly, family policy advisor to education secretary Betsy DeVos – planned the protest following Whitmer’s executive order last Thursday that relaxed existing restrictions. Now one of the most stringent home stay measures in the country, Whitmer’s order was aimed at reducing unnecessary travel as much as possible. But some Tories, including state legislators, have argued that this goes too far and is inconsistent.
Confused buyers discovered that they could buy alcohol and lottery tickets on a trip to the grocery store, but could not visit the vegetable seed section or the garden center. The ordinance required department stores to close nurseries and sections of rope where carpets, floors and paint were sold, provisions the Conservatives deemed arbitrary and harmful to business owners.
The response in Michigan has been aggressive. Residents have launched a Facebook group called “Michiganders Against Excessive Quarantine”, and some have launched legal action. A letter to Whitmer from six Republican members of Congress in Michigan said that Whitmer “unnecessarily closes large sectors of the economy and further restricts the lives of residents.”
Right-wing media joined the refrain. Tucker Carlson of Fox News described Whitmer’s actions as “little bossy,” accusing him of doing a show to be Joe Biden’s former running mate. Rush Limbaugh, a conservative talk-show host and Trump’s favorite, cheered the protesters on Wednesday, saying Democrats like Whitmer were “trained by Nancy Pelosi and [Charles E.] Schumer has to push this harder than he normally thinks. “
Local law enforcement officials even joined conservative criticism on Wednesday, when four county sheriffs wrote an open letter informing residents that they would not “strictly” apply Whitmer’s new order.
“While we understand her desire to protect the public, we question some of the restrictions she has imposed that go beyond her executive power,” wrote county sheriffs of Leelanau, Benzie, Manistee and Mason, while encouraging people to follow the rules of social distancing. “It has created a vague framework of emergency laws that only confuse the citizens of Michigan. “
The political pressure Whitmer has had to loosen restrictions is starting to be felt across the country, especially as governors are starting to coordinate plans for a safe reopening of the economy.
As the Washington Post reported earlier this week, conservative groups such as the Heritage Foundation and the American Legislative Exchange Council are urging GOP and White House lawmakers to repel public health experts in order to reopen the economy as quickly as possible.
“Many Republicans and Conservatives think there could be an overreaction to all of this,” Tea Party organizer Richard Viguerie told Jeff Post and Robert Costa of The Post. “We are all looking forward to coming back. The Conservatives believe that the government has overreacted and that it must end. “
Elsewhere, protests similar to that of Michigan took place in North Carolina and Ohio, as conservative protesters invaded the Capitol to urge governments. Roy Cooper (R) and Mike DeWine (R), respectively, to ease restrictions and reopen the economy. In Ohio, some in MAGA uniforms pressed against the windows of the Capitol, photos from the Columbus Dispatch show.
Maddock, the leader of the Michigan Conservative Coalition which is also campaigning for Trump, told Fox News that she hoped Whitmer would see every car that attended the protest Wednesday representing an unemployed family struggling to pay the bills and the mortgage.
Asked by a reporter about what she could say to these families, Whitmer replied that she had thought of them when signing the home stay order, knowing that it would hurt businesses and families. But, she said, “I also know that it is absolutely necessary with the path we are following,” warning that reckless haste to lift restrictions too soon would worsen the state’s economy in the long run. .
“I don’t focus on politics,” she said. “I’m trying to save lives here. We must remember that the enemy is the virus. Not each other. ”