The American people are getting antsy stuck in their homes amid government-mandated closures prompted by the coronavirus outbreak — and per usual, they aren’t afraid to speak their minds.
The Washington Examiner reported Saturday that protesters had lined the streets outside of Texas’ state Capitol in Austin to demonstrate their disapproval of continued shutdowns. “Let us work,” they chanted. “Fire Fauci!”
“Make America free again”
The protesters were aiming their frustrations largely toward Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a top adviser on President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force. It was Fauci who, based on initial models that predicted unprecedented devastation from COVID-19, recommended the social distancing guidelines that President Trump urged all Americans to follow in order to “flatten the curve.”
Further, it was Fauci’s recommendations that formed the basis for business closures and mandatory lockdowns enacted by state and local governments across the country.
By this weekend, Texans had apparently had enough. “Make America free again!” was among the phrases protesters chanted in Austin Saturday, the Examiner reported. Take a look at video shared by the outlet:
Chant of “Fire Fauci!” pic.twitter.com/Vj4aQhtQs7
— Manny Fernandez (@mannyNYT) April 18, 2020
“A more strategic approach”
Ironically, the protests in Texas — and accompanying calls for Fauci’s firing — seem a bit misplaced, as the state hasn’t been hit too particularly hard by the virus, especially with social distancing measures in place. While the U.S. has seen nearly 760,000 cases of COVID-19 as of Sunday, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker, the Lone Star State accounts for just under 20,000 of them.
What’s more, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has been careful to not go too far in imposing overly strict rules on the people of Texas, and has already begun the process of easing those restrictions where possible and allowing businesses to reopen — at least in limited fashion, for the time being — with May 1 set as a benchmark.
“Obviously, not all businesses can open all at once on May the first,” Abbott said on Friday, according to the Examiner. “Some businesses, if fully open, without better distancing standards, would be more likely to set us back, rather than to propel us forward. A more strategic approach is required to ensure that we don’t reopen only to have to shut down once again.”
Meanwhile, other states are facing far stricter measures that some have called “draconian.” In response, states like Michigan, Minnesota, and Virginia have all seen protests in recent days similar to those in Texas, and more are sure to follow.
For his part, President Donald Trump has expressed his support for the protesters, writing in a tweet Friday, “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” and later writing similar messages about Minnesota and Virginia, Business Insider reported.
But with governors across the nation taking the reins — and dead-set on combatting Trump at every corner — I’ll believe in the “liberation” when I see it.