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Trump tweets 'LIBERATE MICHIGAN,' echoing Lansing protesters

A couple thousand people protested in Lansing on Wednesday to show their disagreement over Michigan's stay at home order.
Credit: AP
A Trump Unity sign on a trailer is shown parked at a protest in front of the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, Mich., Wednesday, April 15, 2020. Flag-waving, honking protesters drove past the Michigan Capitol on Wednesday to show their displeasure with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's orders to keep people at home and businesses locked during the new coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

President Donald Trump tweeted "LIBERATE MICHIGAN" Friday morning, seemingly responding to the protest that brought thousands of people who disagree with the stay at home order to Lansing. 

Wednesday's demonstration was the first of such protests that showed dissent with sweeping stay at home orders that have been enacted in 43 states. Michigan's has some stricter elements, like closing garden centers at big box stores. 

While an estimated 4,000 people attended the protest, the majority of the people stayed in their cars to show their disagreement by creating gridlock. Many urged the governor to relax restrictions and allow people to go back to work, saying the order goes too far. In a month, 1 million Michiganders have filed for unemployment. 

Over 100 people defied the state order to practice social distancing by getting out of their cars and gathering on the capitol lawn. This included pro-Trump demonstrators outfitted with Make America Great Again flags, hats or shirts.

The president has recently pushed for stay-at-home orders to be lifted, but the decision is ultimately up to state governments. In the Midwest, seven governors are working together to reopen the region's economy collectively. 

RELATED: Rally held against Whitmer's stay at home order causes 'gridlock' in downtown Lansing

After Michigan's protest, similar ones have been organized in Ohio, North Carolina, Kentucky, Minnesota and Virginia. 

In back to back tweets just minutes apart, Trump apparently showed his support to these protests, saying: "LIBERATE MINNESOTA!" "LIBERATE MICHIGAN" and "LIBERATE VIRGINA, and save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!"

The tweets targeted three states with Democratic governors. 

Credit: Twitter

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer responded to the protest, which gained national attention earlier this week, by saying she supports people's opinions and their right to demonstrate. 

"The sad irony here is that the protest was that they don't like being in this stay at home order. And they may have just created a need to lengthen it, which is something that we're trying to avoid at all costs," Whitmer said.

RELATED: 'We know that this rally endangered people,' Whitmer responds to Lansing protest

The stay at home order is set to be lifted on May 1, and the governor said she hopes to begin loosening some restrictions at that point. 

"I do hope to have some relaxing come May 1, but it's two weeks away and the information and the data and our ability to test is changing so rapidly it's hard to tell precisely where we'll be in a week from now much less two," she said. 

Michigan is one of the hardest hit by the pandemic with more than 26,000 cases and 2,000 deaths -- the third highest death rate in the country. 

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