Protesters, several of them carrying semiautomatic rifles, swept into the state Legislature chamber in Lansing, Mich., Thursday in the second such action by people there who are upset with Michigan’s stay-at-home directives.
How did the president of the United States respond? By urging Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to “make a deal” with the armed protesters.
The Governor of Michigan should give a little, and put out the fire. These are very good people, but they are angry. They want their lives back again, safely! See them, talk to them, make a deal.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 1, 2020
Let’s see, the president thinks “angry” armed men descending on a legislative session making demands are “very good people.”
First, what does being good or not good have to do with such an over-the-top attempt to intimidate?
Directly above me, men with rifles yelling at us. Some of my colleagues who own bullet proof vests are wearing them. I have never appreciated our Sergeants-at-Arms more than today. #mileg pic.twitter.com/voOZpPYWOs— Senator Dayna Polehanki (@SenPolehanki) April 30, 2020
And second, since when is it a good idea for the president of the United States to encourage political leaders to cave in to demands by armed protesters?
Note that this came about two weeks after Trump urged similar throngs in Michigan, Minnesota and Virginia to “LIBERATE” their states and in the case of Virginia, to “save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!”
Clearly the president isn’t thinking. Or maybe he is and, as usual, thinking only about his own interests.
It seems Trump’s little tariff tiffs have taken quite a toll in Michigan, still the heart of the American auto industry, to the tune of $1.9 billion, according to one estimate. The auto and steel industries were shedding jobs even before the current economic crisis. Remember, these were the prime manufacturing jobs that Trump promised to bring back.
And the federal government’s sinfully slow and inadequate response to the coronavirus crisis also likely lurks in the minds of people in a state with nearly 4,000 COVID-19 deaths and about 40,400 reported cases.
So what’s a cynical manipulator like Trump to do?
Fan the flames of discontent among right-wing extremists even if they are embracing their 1st Amendment right to petition their government by embracing what they view as their 2nd Amendment right to bear arms — even if it is in a legislative chamber.
And you have to wonder if the Michigan Legislature may be rethinking its rule allowing firearms to be carried openly in the Capitol. Conducting the public’s business under watch by armed extremists doesn’t seem like a particularly democratic way of getting things done.