An adviser to outgoing President Donald Trump on Sunday called for an “uprising” against Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer – sparking a barrage of accusations of inciting violence in a state where a far-right militia plot to kidnap and kill Mme Whitmer was arrested by the FBI last month.
Posted on November 17, 2020 at 7:00 a.m.
In a tweet released on Sunday following the announcement of new measures in Michigan to fight the spread of COVID-19, Dr Scott Atlas, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said: “The only way to stop [ces mesures] is that people rise up. You get what you accept. ”
Accused of inciting violence, Dr Scott Atlas tried to put things right, writing that he was calling on people to vote, not take up arms.
An explanation “that makes no sense,” said Samuel Bagenstos, professor of law at the University of Michigan and former senior assistant deputy attorney general in the Department of Justice.
“He’s trying to backpedal because he’s getting criticized; we just voted, and there is no election in Michigan for two years, Bagenstos said in a telephone interview. What Scott Atlas does is simple: he spurts fuel on the fire. It is the most irresponsible thing you can imagine. And it comes from a person whose job is supposedly to fix the coronavirus problem, as the spread of the virus is peaking in the United States. ”
Mr. Bagenstos noted that the message from Dr Atlas looks like the one released earlier this year by Donald Trump, who wrote “FREE THE MICHIGAN” at the start of the containment measures. A few months later, 14 people were arrested in Michigan over a plot to kidnap and assassinate Governor Whitmer, a Democrat who stands up to Trump.
On Monday, Governor Whitmer said she was “shaken” by Dr.r Atlas, a controversial radiologist who has no experience in the field of infectious diseases.
“It really took my breath away, to tell the truth. I’m not going to let myself be intimidated, ”she said, adding that more than 20,000 people in her state could die from COVID-19 this winter if nothing is done to stem the spread of the virus.
For the Dr Jon Zelner, an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Michigan, the Trump administration’s attacks on Governor Whitmer are motivated in part by sexism.
“You have a governor of a large, politically important state who has the temerity to take decisive action against COVID-19 – in total contradiction to what the Trump administration has tried unsuccessfully to create so far,” said the Dr Zelner in an interview.
Governor Whitmer on Sunday announced a series of three-week restrictions in her state to fight the coronavirus, including the closure of all high schools, restaurant dining halls and bars, from Wednesday. Primary schools, daycares, hairdressing salons, gymnasiums and shops will remain open.
These measures which provoked the ire of Dr Atlas are far from extreme, notes the Dr Zelner. “There is a desire to balance economics with the very real need to take strong action against the increase in transmission. In fact, the extent of the restrictions is far less than those employed in places where the epidemic is much less severe than what we are currently experiencing in Michigan and most other American states. ”
The United States is experiencing a peak in transmission of the coronavirus, with an average of more than 150,000 new cases of infection recorded per day for the past week, an increase of 81% from data recorded two weeks ago. More than 1,000 people die from it every day, a figure that is on the rise and promises to continue to climb over the next few weeks, experts predict, as the virus has claimed nearly 250,000 victims so far in the United States .
Faced with the White House’s inaction, states are taking new initiatives in scattered rows in an attempt to bring the pandemic under control.
With Michigan, Washington State recently implemented a series of measures. The dining rooms of restaurants, gymnasiums, cinemas, theaters and museums will close as of Tuesday, for a period of four weeks.
In all, 34 states have mandated the mandatory wearing of face coverings in businesses and indoor public places and outdoor public gatherings where physical distancing cannot be observed.
The most affected place, in proportion to its population, is North Dakota. A ratio of 2,494 cases of infection per 100,000 inhabitants has been reported there over the past two weeks. Johns Hopkins University researchers say that one in 79 people in North Dakota tested positive for COVID-19 last week.
Restaurant dining rooms will remain open in North Dakota, but must operate at a maximum capacity of 50%, with a maximum of 150 people at a time. For a long time hostile to the adoption of an instruction to obligatory wearing of the face covering, subject which he qualified as “obsession of the media”, the republican governor Doug Burgum has just imposed the measure on the whole State .