A conservative economist with close ties to President Trump raised eyebrows when he likened those protesting social distancing restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic to civil rights hero Rosa Parks.
Stephen Moore, who was recently named to a White House task force assigned with examining ways to reopen the economy, praised the crowds of protesters seen in various cities across the country in recent days demanding the lifting of lockdown restrictions.
‘I think there’s a boiling point that has been reached and exceeded,’ Moore, who has been among several influential conservatives leaning on the president to ease shelter-in-place restrictions, told The Washington Post.
Stephen Moore, a conservative economist who is close to President Trump, said those protesting social distancing orders during the coronavirus pandemic are akin to ‘modern day Rosa Parks’
MOORE’S COMMENTS ON ROSA PARKS BEGIN AT AROUND 15:50
‘I call these people the modern-day Rosa Parks – they are protesting against injustice and a loss of liberties,’ he said.
Moore made similar comments during a video conference chat posted online by the libertarian think tank Independence Institute.
He said in the chat which was posted online on Tuesday that he was helping organize a ‘drive-in’ protest in Wisconsin, where the Democratic governor, Tony Evers, extended statewide stay-at-home orders until May 26.
‘They’re going to shut down the Capitol. Shh. Don’t tell anybody,’ Moore said of the protesters.
‘This is a great time for civil disobedience.
‘We need to be the Rosa Parks here and protest against these government injustices.’
Rosa Parks was an African-American civil rights icon who famously refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, public bus to a white man in 1955 – a time when the Deep South was segregated by race.
Parks was arrested by authorities for her act of civil disobedience, which ignited the Montgomery Bus Boycott, a crucial turning point in the civil rights movement.
Parks was 92 when she died in 2005.
The comment by Moore ignited outrage on social media.
Rosa Parks was an African-American civil rights icon who famously refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, public bus to a white man in 1955 – a time when the Deep South was segregated by race
Ibram X. Kendi tweeted: ‘Stephen Moore calls them ‘modern-day Rosa Parks.’
‘But Parks desired different freedoms.
‘These folk want the freedom to infect, like they have wanted the freedom to enslave, lynch, deport, exclude, rob.
‘They have always protested the ‘loss of liberties’.’
N.K. Jemisin tweeted that Parks ‘was not protesting for the right to KILL PEOPLE WITH A VIRUS.’
Ida Bae Wells tweeted: ‘When people like Stephen Moore make comparisons to Rosa Parks we should treat it as the cynical, calculated form of race baiting that it is.
‘Enslavers said *they* were in fact the slaves. Segregationists adopted Civil Rights [movement] language to fight policies to help black people.’
N.K. Jemisin tweeted that Parks ‘was not protesting for the right to KILL PEOPLE WITH A VIRUS’
Mark Harris tweeted: ‘I’ll never forget the day Rosa Parks got on the bus with a submachine gun and refused to wear a mask because of freedom’
Rosa Parks ‘didn’t endanger other people’s live. She endangered whiteness,’ wrote Ashton Pittman
Ida Bae Wells tweeted that Moore’s comments were aimed at ‘evoking outrage while simultaneously obscuring the real racial and economic injustice people are facing’
Ibram X. Kendi wrote that pro-Trump protesters ‘want the freedom to infect, like they have wanted the freedom to enslave, lynch, deport, exclude, rob.’
One Twitter user responded with a meme meant to express: ‘Some day, I just… cannot… even…’
Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II tweeted: ‘When people say stupid things, don’t get stuck on stupid. Stupid is an act to distract’
Mark Harris tweeted: ‘I’ll never forget the day Rosa Parks got on the bus with a submachine gun and refused to wear a mask because of freedom.’
Ashton Pittman tweeted: ‘When Rosa Parks sat at the front of the bus, she didn’t endanger other people’s lives. She endangered whiteness.
‘I know it is difficult for some people to separate the two, though.’
Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II tweeted: ‘When people say stupid things, don’t get stuck on stupid. Stupid is an act to distract.
‘Stay focused on what’s true & real.
‘Let’s be smart & vote this foolishness out of office in November.’
Governors eager to rescue their economies and feeling heat from Trump are moving to ease restrictions meant to control the spread of the coronavirus, even as new hot spots emerge and experts warn that moving too fast could prove disastrous.
Adding to the pressure are protests against stay-at-home orders organized by small-government groups and Trump supporters.
They staged demonstrations Saturday in several cities after the president urged them to ‘liberate’ three states led by Democratic governors.
Several hundred protesters defied social distancing guidelines and gathered outside Minnesota Governor Tim Walz’ official residence in St. Paul on Friday demanding an end to the statewide coronavirus lockdown
Several hundred protesters gather outside Minnesota Governor Tim Walz’ official residence in St. Paul, Minnesota, on Friday
Some of the protesters were cautious and stayed in their vehicles while others gathered in defiance of social distancing orders
Protests happened in Republican-led states, too, including at the Texas Capitol and in front of the Indiana governor’s home.
Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott already said that restrictions will begin easing next week.
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb – who signed an agreement with six other Midwestern states to coordinate reopening – said he would extend his stay-at-home order until May 1.
Rhode Island, between the hot spots of Massachusetts and New York, has seen a steady daily increase in infections and deaths, with nursing home residents accounting for more than 90 of the state’s 118 deaths.
The state’s death rate of around 10 people per 100,000 is among the nation’s highest per capita, according to data compiled by the COVID Tracking Project.
Massachusetts had its highest number of deaths in a single day on Friday, with 159.
Republican Governor Charlie Baker, citing the advice of health experts, said states should wait until infection rates and hospitalizations decline for about two weeks before acting.
Trump, whose administration waited months to bolster stockpiles of key medical supplies and equipment, appeared to back protesters.
‘LIBERATE MINNESOTA!’ ‘LIBERATE MICHIGAN!’ ‘LIBERATE VIRGINIA,’ Trump said in a tweet-storm in which he also lashed out at New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, for criticizing the federal response.
Cuomo ‘should spend more time ‘doing’ and less time ‘complaining’,’ the president said.
At his Saturday briefing with reporters, Cuomo cited more progress.
The daily increase in deaths in New York state fell below 550 for the first time in more than two weeks as hospitalizations continued to decline.
But the crisis is far from over: Hospitals are still reporting nearly 2,000 new COVID-19 patients per day, and nursing homes remain a ‘feeding frenzy for this virus,’ he said.
‘We are not at a point when we are going to be reopening anything immediately,’ Cuomo said.
In Texas, several hundred people rallied on steps of the state Capitol to call for an end to social restrictions.
Many protesters sought an immediate lifting of restrictions and chanted ‘Let us work!’ in a state where more than 1 million people have filed for unemployment since the crisis began.
The rally was organized by a host of Infowars, owned by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who joined protesters on the Capitol steps.
Jones is being sued in Austin over using his show to promote falsehoods that the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre in Connecticut was a hoax.
Elsewhere, a few hundred demonstrators cheered and waved signs outside the Statehouse in New Hampshire, which has had nearly 1,300 cases of the virus and more than three dozen deaths through Friday.
‘Even if the virus were 10 times as dangerous as it is, I still wouldn’t stay inside my home.
‘I’d rather take the risk and be a free person,’ said one of the protesters, talk show host Ian Freeman.
Trump is pushing to relax the US lockdown by May 1, a plan that hinges partly on more testing.
Public health officials said the ability to test enough people and trace contacts of those who are infected is crucial before easing restrictions, and that infections could surge anew unless people continue to take precautions.