Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer extended the state's "Stay At Home" order Thursday as protesters with guns entered the state capitol in Lansing.
Whitmer signed three executive orders Wednesday declared a new state of emergency amid the coronavirus pandemic and a state of disaster in Michigan through May 28.
She signed the orders after both the Michigan House and Senate refused to pass an extension of the previous state of emergency order, which was scheduled to expire at midnight Thursday. The legislature also passed a measure authorizing a potential lawsuit challenging Whitmer's authority to use emergency powers to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.
"While some members of the legislature might believe this crisis is over, common sense and all of the scientific data tells us we're not out of the woods yet," Whitmer said in a news release. "By refusing to extend the emergency and disaster declaration, Republican lawmakers are putting their heads in the sand and putting more lives and livelihoods at risk. I'm not going to let that happen."
Whitmer's orders came the same day that hundreds of protesters descended upon Lansing, calling for an end to coronavirus shutdowns. Many protesters carried guns, and some armed protesters entered the Capitol building and shouted at security officers.
Directly above me, men with rifles yelling at us. Some of my colleagues who own bullet proof vests are wearing them. I have never appreciated our Sergeants-at-Arms more than today. #mileg pic.twitter.com/voOZpPYWOs
— Senator Dayna Polehanki (@SenPolehanki) April 30, 2020
It's not the first time protesters have called for an end to "Stay At Home" orders in the state. Earlier this month, a group of protesters clogged Lansing streets with a drive-in protest.
Michigan's "Stay At Home" orders have been among the country's strictest, as the state has suffered the sixth-most confirmed coronavirus cases. Per capita, the state's outbreak is among the country's most deadly.
The political ramifications of the shutdown reached the White House Friday when President Donald Trump tweeted that Whitmer should "give a little, and put out the fire." Trump has publicly battled with Whitmer throughout the pandemic — during a briefing in March, he referred to her as "the woman from Michigan," and he tweeted a call to "liberate" the state earlier this month.
The Governor of Michigan should give a little, and put out the fire. These are very good people, but they are angry. They want their lives back again, safely! See them, talk to them, make a deal.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 1, 2020
While political protests to end "Stay At Home" orders have sparked up across the country, most Americans fear that governors will lift restrictions on non-essential businesses too soon rather than too late. Medical experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci of the Trump administration, have urged states to slowly reopen economies so as not to cause a spike in COVID-19 cases.
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