President Trump issued an all-caps plea Friday to "LIBERATE" three states under lockdown orders from Democratic governors. "LIBERATE MINNESOTA!" he tweeted, and followed it up with similar tweets on Michigan and Virginia. As Politico notes, all three states saw public protests this week by people chafing against stay-at-home orders from their respective governors. With his tweets, Trump appeared to be supporting those protests, per the Hill. The New York Times story goes much further, asserting that Trump "began openly fomenting far-right protests of social distancing restrictions in states where groups of his conservative supporters have been violating stay-at-home orders." The White House did not immediately respond to comments asking for clarification on Trump's message, reports USA Today.
The tweets come a day after Trump laid out national guidelines for states to reopen and struck a more cooperative message: “We are not opening all at once, but one careful step at a time," he said. He told governors that "you’re going to call your own shots." Also on Friday, Trump renewed his criticism of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, tweeting that Cuomo "should spend more time 'doing' and less time 'complaining,'" reports the Hill. Trump ticked off various complaints of his own, including, "We built you thousands of hospital beds that you didn’t need or use." Cuomo responded in real time at his daily briefing, saying the state has, in fact, used many of those beds. "How many times do you want me to say thank you for doing your job?" he added, referring to Trump's complaint about a lack of thanks. In yet another tweet, Trump told states to "step up their TESTING!" and Cuomo said the feds needed to help with that. (Read more President Trump stories.)