On Friday, writing for Deadspin, Donovan Dooley laid out why President Donald Trump’s expressions of support for the armed quarantine protesters in states like Michigan is so dangerous: He is, Dooley argued, fundamentally seeking to “normalize white violence.”
“On Thursday, hundreds of people carrying firearms descended on Michigan’s state capitol building to protest Governor Gretchen Whitner’s stay at home order extension to May 15,” wrote Dooley. “A move that was seemingly constructed to intimidate lawmakers to lift safety restrictions on a state that has been one of the hardest hit by COVID-19. As of Thursday, Michigan had reported nearly 3,800 deaths in total and 119 deaths on Wednesday alone.”
“On Friday morning, Trump sent out a tweet calling these individuals who swarmed the capitol ‘very good people,’” continued Dooley. “He even implored Whitmer to ‘make them a deal’ and instructed her to ‘give a little.’”
“What’s crazy is that the new stay at home extension already relaxes many of the state’s initial restrictions. It allows more businesses to open and lets the public enjoy more outside activities,” wrote Dooley. “So per usual, Trump has no idea what he’s talking about.”
And that is even before discussing the far-right vigilante militias and white nationalists present at the rally.
“There is nothing noble about ‘protesting’ the safety of millions of mortally endangered Americans because you are too selfish to sacrifice on behalf of another person’s life,” wrote Dooley. “Secondly, it is impossible to engage in peaceful protests when you are carrying weapons that are designed to kill. Any notion that these are ‘good people,’ merely exercising their right to protest, is illogical at its core. Yet the President of the United States continues to catalyze these actions by refusing to condemn these radicals, who in turn serve as his far-right base.”
It is a similar moral choice Trump faced in Charlottesville, where he called Nazis “very fine people” — even as he referred to a Black athletes taking a knee to protest police brutality a “son of a bitch.”
“Trump’s continued justification of violence forces us to no longer look at him as solely a bumbling figurehead. His sugar coating of white supremacist behavior makes him complicit in the dangers that impact millions of Americans,” concluded Dooley. “This is not another one of Trump’s mind-numbing moves. This is a calculated trivialization of the lives of those who don’t look like him.”
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