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caption: Gov. Jay Inslee squared off with President Trump during a call between the president and governors on the coronavirus coordination efforts.
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Gov. Jay Inslee squared off with President Trump during a call between the president and governors on the coronavirus coordination efforts.
Credit: AP

Trump's 'unhinged rantings' could lead to violence amid a pandemic, Gov. Jay Inslee says

Gov. Jay Inslee issued a bold statement on Friday about President Donald Trump letting governors decide when to open their states.

“The president’s statements this morning encourage illegal and dangerous acts," Inslee said in the statement. "He is putting millions of people in danger of contracting COVID-19. His unhinged rantings and calls for people to 'liberate' states could also lead to violence. We’ve seen it before."

Inslee was responding to tweets from Trump that seemed to target states' stay-at-home orders. States such as Michigan and Minnesota — which have Democratic governors — have implemented stay-at-home-orders in response to the coronavirus pandemic, and stall its spread.

The president tweeted "LIBERATE MICHIGAN" and "LIBERATE MINNESOTA." He also tweeted a similar message for Virginia.

Inslee wrote that Trump "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."

Samantha Zager, a spokesperson with Trump's re-election campaign, sent out an email. "If you are covering Jay Inslee's Twitter rant, please see the following statement from me," she wrote.

“For someone allegedly concerned about global warming, Governor Inslee is blowing a lot of hot air," she said. "The fact remains, President Trump has taken bold and decisive action to save American lives and provide financial assistance in a time of need."

Inslee had called out Trump for being two-faced -- saying one thing in official channels, but another to his supporters on Twitter.

"Just yesterday, the president stood alongside White House officials and public health experts and said science would guide his plan for easing restrictions," Inslee wrote.

"Trump slowly read his script and said the plan was based on ‘hard, verifiable data’ and was done ‘in consultation with scientists, experts and medical professionals across government.’"

Less than 24 hours later, Inslee said, "the president is off the rails."

"He’s not quoting scientists and doctors but spewing dangerous, anti-democratic rhetoric."

Inslee said that he hopes someday "we can look at today’s meltdown as something to be pitied, rather than condemned. But we don’t have that luxury today. There is too much at stake."

He said that Trump's tweets could cause a spike in infections where social distancing is working.