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Previous story Inslee rebukes the president, as Trump encourages rebellion to states' coronavirus stay-home orders Next story
Published on April 19, 2020 4:27 AM


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In a statement Friday, Inslee condemned Trump for encouraging ?illegal and dangerous acts? that were ?putting millions of people in danger of contracting COVID-19.?

?The president is fomenting domestic rebellion and spreading lies even while his own administration says the virus is real and is deadly, and that we have a long way to go before restrictions can be lifted,? Inslee said in prepared remarks.

?Just yesterday, the president stood alongside White House officials and public-health experts and said science would guide his plan for easing restrictions,? the governor added. ?The White House released a sensible plan laying out many of the guidelines that I agree are essential to follow, as we work to resume economic activity.?

The governor called for political leaders to speak out against Trump.

Demonstrations in recent days against stay-home orders have erupted in several states, including at state Capitols in OhioIdaho and Oregon.

Inslee took a more conciliatory tone toward those who oppose his stay-at home order, some of whom may attend Sunday?s demonstration in Olympia.

Asked about the planned demonstration, Inslee said, ?of course they?re welcome to express their First Amendment rights to say what they want to say.?

?I do encourage them to socially distance when they do that, try to maintain 6 feet apart while you?re expressing yourself,? the governor said. ?We care about your safety as well.?

The rally, named ?Hazardous Liberty! Defend the Constitution!? is in response to the governor?s use of emergency powers to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, which as of Friday afternoon had killed 603 Washingtonians and sickened at least 11,445, according to the state Department of Health.

?If we assent to this violation, even for a short time, then we are assenting to future violations, more egregious and indefinite in their scope,? wrote the Olympia demonstration?s organizer on a Facebook page. ?We will be, in as real a sense as is possible, forging the chains of our own servitude.?

The rally?s organizer is Tyler Miller, a 39-year-old engineering technician who lives Bremerton, according to a report in The New York Times.

The event?s Facebook post called on demonstrators to practice social distancing and consider wearing protective gear, and also urged vulnerable people or those who are sick or have been exposed to COVID-19 to stay home.

Given that rallies on the Capitol campus are protected by the First Amendment, the Washington State Patrol (WSP) generally takes a hands-off approach to them.

In an email, Chris Loftis, spokesman for the patrol, noted the governor?s stay-home order is ?legally enforceable and restricts gathering sizes while setting COVID appropriate levels of physical distancing.?