Gov. Jay Inslee: ‘Dangerous’ for Trump to Encourage People to Violate the Law

Melanie Arter | April 20, 2020 | 4:07pm EDT
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(Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

( - Washington Gov. Jay Inslee told ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopolous” on Sunday that President Donald Trump is encouraging protesters to violate the law by tweeting for them to “liberate” Michigan and Virginia.

“I don't know any other way to characterize it, when we have an order from governors, both Republicans and Democrats, that basically are designed to protect people's health, literally their lives, to have a president of the United States basically encourage insubordination, to encourage illegal activity,” he said.

“These orders actually are the law of these states, and, again, these are not just Democrats. These are Republican-led states as well. To have an American president to encourage people to violate the law, I can't remember any time during my time in America where we have seen such a thing. And it is dangerous, because it can inspire people to ignore things that actually can save their lives, and I don't know there's another way to characterize it,” Inslee said.

“And it is doubly frustrating to us governors, because this is such a schizophrenia, because the president basically is asking people: Please ignore Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx. Please ignore my own guidelines that I set forth, because those guidelines made very clear, if you read them -- and I don't know if the president did or not -- but, if you read them, it made very clear that you cannot open up Michigan today or Virginia,” the governor said.

“Under those guidelines, you need to see a decline in the infections and fatalities, and that simply has not happened yet. So, yes, we hope that there could be a restoration of leadership in the White House, rather than hobbling our national efforts to protect people from this terrible virus,” Insee said.

When asked how close the state is to meeting the guidelines to relax restrictions and the end of phase one, Inslee said, “Well, there's a lot of good news in Washington. We have been very united as a state. There's been massive compliance with our stay home, stay healthy order. People are really pitching in. They feel a sense of commonality and unity. 

“We're very proud of Washingtonians, because we've been able to bend the curve down, and the reason we've been able to do this is we've made decisions based on data, based on science, based on some of the best geneticists and epidemiologists in the world here at the University of Washington and in other labs. So, we have a lot of things to be happy about and prideful about,” he said.

“The problem, however, though, is we still have not got the curve going down. We're sort of plateaued, if you will. We want to make sure we want to wrestle this beast to the ground, and the reason is you have to get the infections down to a low enough number where you can handle it through very vigorous robust testing and contact tracing,” the governor said.

“We are building an army to act sort of like a fire brigade. You know, when your house is on fire you call the fire department and they come quickly. We need the same capability when you have symptoms to get you tested and isolated as appropriate. So, we need to get those numbers down to be in that really reopening stage and contact tracing stage, and I'm looking forward to that happy day when we get to that downward curve,” he said.

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