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- Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam responded to President Donald Trump’s call for Americans to “LIBERATE VIRGINIA” and save their Second Amendment right to bear arms.
- “He has chosen to focus on protest, and this is not the time for protest,” Northam, a Democrat, told CNN’s Jake Tapper Sunday.
- Northam pointed to Trump’s inability “to deliver on tests” while calling on citizens to protest social distancing guidelines.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam responded to President Donald Trump’s call for his state and others to “liberate” from stay-at-home orders and said state governors do not have adequate testing to implement White House’s three-phase plan to re-open the US.
“This is not the time for divisiveness,” Northam (D-Va.) told Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, as demonstrators across the country continue to break social distancing guidelines to protest state’s stay-at-home orders. “This is time for leadership that will stand up and provide empathy, that will understand what is going on in this country of ours with this pandemic. It’s the time for truth and its the time to bring people together.”
“LIBERATE VIRGINIA, and save your great 2nd Amendment,” Trump said last week in a series of tweets. “It is under siege!”
“Our president obviously has been unable to deliver on tests,” Northam said. “Now he has chosen to focus on protest, and this is not the time for protest.”
—Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 17, 2020
President Trump at a press conference Saturday responded to questions about the protests and whether they were protesting his administration’s own social distancing guidelines.
“I mean I noticed there are a lot of protests out there, and I just think that some of the governors have gotten carried away,” Trump said.
The president told reporters Saturday he believed it was appropriate to link debates about the Second Amendment in Virginia to protests over state-mandated social distancing.
“The people really have to start looking at what’s going on in Virginia because that’s a mess with really a governor that’s under siege anyway. They’re trying to take that second amendment right away,” Trump said. “To me, that’s liberty.”
Northam and Virginia’s Democrat-controlled state legislature have passed a series of legislation aimed at strengthening gun laws in the state, according to WTOP.
When asked about the president’s recent comments that states have enough testing capabilities to reopen the country, Northam disagreed.
“That’s just delusional to be making statements like that,” Northam said.
Northam said he and other governors had been “working collaboratively” but were still left to compete with each other to obtain necessary supplies to tackle COVID-19.
“We’re fighting a biological war,” he said. “We’ve been asked — by the way — as governors to fight that war without the supplies we need.”
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Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, who also appeared on “State of the Union” on Sunday also told Tapper he believed Trump’s claims about testing were “just absolutely false.”
“It’s not accurate to say there’s plenty of testing out there and the governors should just get it done,” the Maryland governor told Tapper. “That’s just not being straightforward.”