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Pro-Trump protesters push back on stay-at-home orders
Americans want to get back to work: Scott Walker
Former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, argues reopening the economy in stages is a smart decision, as long as people continue to practice social distancing.
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While many Americans are filled with fear, Melissa Ackison says the coronavirus pandemic has filled her with anger. The stay-at-home orders are government overreach, the conservative Ohio state Senate candidate says, and the labeling of some workers as “essential” is arbitrary.
“It enrages something inside of you,” said Ackison, who was among those who protested Republican Gov. Mike DeWine’s orders at the statehouse in Columbus with her 10-year-old son. She has “no fear whatsoever” of contracting the virus, she said Thursday, dismissing it as hype.
The Ohio protest was among a growing number staged outside governors' mansions and state Capitols across the country. In places like Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia, small-government groups, supporters of President Donald Trump, anti-vaccine advocates, gun rights backers and supporters of right-wing causes have united behind a deep suspicion of efforts to shut down daily life to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
As their frustration with life under lockdown grows, they’ve defied social distancing rules in an effort to put pressure on governors to ease them.
Some protests have been small, promoted via Facebook groups that popped up in recent days and whose organizers are sometimes difficult to identify. Others are backed by groups funded by Republican donors, some with ties to Trump.
The largest so far, a rally of thousands that jammed streets in Lansing, Michigan, on Wednesday, looked much like one of the president's rallies — complete with MAGA hats and Trump flags — or one of the tea party rallies from a decade ago.
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The signs of frustration come as Trump has pushed for easing stay-at-home orders and tried to look ahead to restarting the economy. He unveiled a framework for governors to follow on Thursday, but acknowledged the governors will have final say on when their state is ready. Health experts warn that lifting restrictions too quickly could result in a surge of new cases of the virus.
But the president and some supporters are impatient. Thousands of people in their cars packed the streets of Lansing to protest Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home restrictions. Outside the Capitol, some chanted “Lock her up,” a throwback to Trump’s calls during the 2016 election about his rival Hillary Clinton.