President Trump on Friday whipsawed from his openness the previous day to governors ‘opening up’ states as they saw fit after coronavirus, to attacking Democratic governors who have issued strict stay-at-home policies.
“LIBERATE MINNESOTA!” “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” “LIBERATE VIRGINIA,” he wrote in all caps on Twitter. On Thursday, the president issued federal guidelines for returning to normal business, which included leaving decisions about the process up to individual governors.
Speaking Friday with Emily Rooney on ‘Greater Boston,’ local political pundits offered markedly different responses.
Jim Rappaport, who used to chair the Massachusetts Republican party, said he had been in touch recently with contacts in both Sweden and Italy and been between California and Florida for the last five weeks.
“Virtually everyone I talk to at every level is saying, ‘Let us get back to work, this is nuts.’ And so the plan that [the White House] is talking about provides that. And, you know, I am never going to defend or castigate Trump for his statements, because it is who he is, and I’m really gonna be looking at the results.”
Sweden has famously declined lockdown measures, and has had more than 1,300 COVID-19 deaths so far — notably higher than those in neighboring Nordic countries. Italy has had more than 22,000 deaths from the virus, with the rate of deaths in that country decreased since their peak in March. The United States surpassed that country’s death toll this week.
Cynthia Dill, a former Democratic senator from Maine, had a different take.
“My response to the president’s guidelines is, that: it’s very smart politically, on his part,” she said. “It’s obvious the administration does not have a strategy, and so he’s passing the buck to the states.”