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U.S. President Donald Trump sent out messages Friday from his Twitter account apparently in support of protesters in three states seeking to defy measures designed to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
In three successive tweets, the president wrote, "LIBERATE MINNESOTA!" "LIBERATE MICHIGAN!" and, finally, "LIBERATE VIRGINIA, and save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!" The last tweet refers to gun control measures being proposed by Democratic lawmakers in the state.
Protests were held in all three states this week demanding restrictions on businesses and other public activities be lifted, arguing they are killing the economy and violating personal rights.
Trump's tweets would seem to contradict guidelines for how states can begin to reopen, which he released at a White House briefing Thursday. Those guidelines call for a slow phase-out of safety measures whereas the protesters want them lifted immediately.
The Washington Post notes all three states mentioned in Trump's tweets have Democratic governors and are likely to be significant in the November presidential election.