On Sunday, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced new public health and safety measures in response to her state’s rapidly worsening covid-19 pandemic, suspending in-person classes at high schools and colleges as well as indoor dining at restaurants and bars. That these precautions are necessary seems obvious. As the Detroit Free Press noted, Michigan is “now seeing exponential growth that is nearly four times higher than it was during the peak of the virus surge in early April,” and hospitals in the state are on their way to being overwhelmed with covid-19 patients.
But according to the White House’s crank pandemic adviser Scott Atlas, these eminently reasonable public health measures, meant to save lives and keep people safe, are akin to tyranny. Taking cues from his boss Donald Trump, who spent much of this summer threatening Whitmer, using dangerous rhetoric that led to at least one serious plot against her life, Atlas called on people to “rise up” against Whitmer.
“The only way this stops is if people rise up. You get what you accept,” Atlas wrote in a tweet on Sunday evening, responding to Whitmer’s latest order. Atlas, who became the White House’s pandmic adviser in August despite having no background in epidemiology, has a whole slew of incredibly bad ideas when it comes to the covid-19 pandemic. He has pushed the wildly dumb idea of herd immunity, has stated that pandemic-related restrictions “kill people,” and has reiterated the false idea that masks don’t work. Now he’s added tacitly supporting militias, like the one charged in the plot to kidnap Whitmer, to that list, I guess!
A few hours later, Atlas attempted to backtrack, writing that he “NEVER was talking about violence” but was rather encouraging people to vote and to peacefully protest. “NEVER would I endorse or incite violence,” he added, despite the latter being exactly what he did in his previous tweet.
On Sunday evening, Whitmer responded to Atlas’s tweet. “We know that the White House likes to single us out here in Michigan, me out in particular. I’m not gonna be bullied into not following reputable scientists and medical professionals,” she said on CNN, with an emphasis on “reputable.”