- US President Donald Trump supports lockdown protests.
- Some government officials have warned that they may become fertile recruitment grounds for extremist groups.
- A record number, 69%, have either strongly positive or strongly negative views of President Trump.
Two-hundred thirty anti-lockdown protesters have been incarcerated in Hong Kong. Many believe that the measures will be used by the state to clamp down on democratic rights. Meanwhile, in Germany, there are fears that the protests will lead to the radicalization of participants at the events.
Some government officials have warned that they may become fertile recruitment grounds for extremist groups.
Trump Supports the Demonstrations
US President Donald Trump has encouraged the general public to protest isolation measures and soldier out into the world. The president has also adopted battlefield rhetoric in the quest to urge everyday Americans to confront the Covid-19 epidemic. The virus has already infected over 1.32 million people in the United States, and claimed more than 80,000 lives.
“The people of our country should think of themselves as warriors. Our country has to open,” the president said during a recent visit to a mask production plant in Arizona. When asked by reporters if the new “warrior” moniker was a way of conveying to the general public that more deaths would undoubtedly result from reopening the economy, he said that his reference was to those at the forefront of the crisis, including doctors and nurses.
“So I called these people warriors. And I’m actually calling now,” Trump said, “the nation warriors. We have to be warriors. We can’t keep our country closed down for years. And we have to do something.” Trump has called himself the “wartime president,” and invoked language normally used during military conflict, in the war against “the invisible enemy.”
He has compared the current crisis to two of the biggest national devastations in modern history.
“This is really the worst attack we’ve ever had. This is worse than Pearl Harbor. This is worse than the World Trade Center. There’s never been an attack like this. I view it as a — well, I view the invisible enemy as a war. I don’t like how it got here because it could have been stopped.”
The president believes that a fast reopening will help the economy to recover.
Most voters feel very strongly about the president and his current handling of the crisis. The average aggregation of polls since late March from Grinnell College/Selzer and Company, Monmouth University, and Fox News reveals that 27 percent of voters have a very favorable view of the president while 42 percent have a sharply contrary view of him. In all, 69 percent of voters who took part in the surveys have either a strong positive or negative view of him.
The figure represents the largest segment in an election cycle since 1980. Trump’s 2016 election campaign had a record 65 percent of sharply divided voters. George W. Bush comes in second, when 64 percent of voters had a strongly favorable or unfavorable view of him during his 2004 reelection campaign.
No other presidential candidate has ever come close, and this highlights the polarizing effect that the president currently has.