After protests, Trump tweets Whitmer 'should give a little'

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

President Donald Trump tweeted Friday morning that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer should "give a little" and "put out the fire" after hundreds of protesters rallied at Michigan's Capitol against restrictions to combat COVID-19 a day earlier.

"The Governor of Michigan should give a little, and put out the fire," Trump posted. "These are very good people, but they are angry. They want their lives back again, safely! See them, talk to them, make a deal."

The Thursday protest drew an estimated 800 to 1,000 people to Lansing. Some of them entered the Capitol building and demanded to be allowed into the House chamber as lawmakers met. The event drew national attention.

In an apparent response to Trump, Whitmer tweeted footage of Michelle Obama, saying, "Our motto is: When they go low we go high."

Many of the protesters called on officials to lift restrictions, like Whitmer's stay-at-home order, which they see as an infringement on their constitutional rights.

Some of the protesters openly carried firearms, which have long been allowed inside the Capitol.

Supporters of the COVID-19 restrictions believe they're important to prevent a second wave of the virus from hitting the state.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, weighed in later Friday, tweeting that he'd say what Trump wouldn't: 

"The Confederate flag, swastikas, and other symbols of hate that have been used in these protests have no place in America. The president should encourage folks to follow Gov. Whitmer’s public health orders — not sow further discord and division," he wrote. 

The protest came as lawmakers were considering whether to extend Whitmer's state of emergency declaration by 28 days. It was set to expire Friday. The GOP-controlled Legislature ultimately decided not to extend it and adopted resolutions to allow a lawsuit against the governor.

Whitmer, a Democrat, doesn't believe lawmakers can halt the state of emergency here. She issued orders extending the state of emergency through May 28 Thursday night.

"We remain in a state of emergency. That is a fact," Whitmer said during a Thursday night virtual town hall. "For anyone to declare mission accomplished means they're turning a blind eye to the fact that over 600 people have died in the last 72 hours."

Trump, a Republican, and Whitmer, a Democrat who's being touted as a potential running mate for Biden, have clashed in recent weeks over the federal government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The virus has been linked to 3,789 deaths in Michigan.