“Even before the covid-19 crisis, we already had too many families in Michigan that were struggling every day,” said Gilda Z. Jacobs, the executive director of the Michigan League for Public Policy. “Now we’re finding it’s even worse.”
The economic costs to Michigan workers are likely to be great, as are the political stakes entering the 2020 election. Those tensions surfaced Wednesday, when protesters wearing “Make America Great Again” hats stormed the capitol in Lansing, chanting “Lock her up!” and demanding Whitmer lift the stay-at-home order.
The demonstrations followed President Trump’s attack on Whitmer, who recently has emerged as a potential vice-presidential pick for the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee, Joe Biden. Similar protests also have taken place in Ohio and North Carolina, but the Michigan offered the largest showing to date of conservative pushback against social distancing restrictions — and perhaps a preview of what’s to come.
Whitmer has said the gatherings — and an abrupt reopening amid a pandemic — would “endanger people’s lives.” The governor did not respond to a request for comment. Tim Murtaugh, a spokesman for Trump’s campaign, said the president “is leading the nation in this war against the coronavirus, and people in every state can see that.”