NBC’s Melvin Urges Dem Whitmer to Arrest Michigan Protesters

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During a softball interview with Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday, NBC’s 3rd Hour Today show co-host Craig Melvin urged the Democrat to arrest protesters objecting to her strict coronavirus stay-at-home order in the state. He even compared the peaceful demonstrators to violent rioters in Ferguson, Missouri after the Michael Brown shooting in 2014.

After initially pointing out that some of Whitmer’s critics felt her policy “violated [their] constitutional rights,” Melvin launched into a rant against the demonstrators and implied a racial double standard in how authorities treated the protests:

 

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I want to talk to you about these demonstrators that I saw over the weekend in your state capitol, a number of them armed. I remember vividly a few years ago being in Ferguson, Missouri and protestors there, many of them protesting, they weren’t armed, they were referred to as thugs. These men and women, many of them carrying flags, walking around with their guns in your state capitol, not adhering to social distancing orders. They would appear to be in violation of a number of laws. Why weren’t they arrested?

Other than not following proper social distancing guidelines, Melvin never explained what actual laws he thought were being violated by the protesters. He also never elaborated on why he thought peaceful demonstrations in Michigan were the equivalent of violent riots in Missouri.

For her part, Whitmer jumped at the chance to slander the protesters:

So, unfortunately right now in Michigan we see a small number of people – it looks large on television. But when you think about this is a state of 10 million people, this is a small contingent that came out and made political statements. They carried nooses and confederate flags and swastikas. And yet, while we’re focusing on their carrying – their open carrying automatic rifles, that is legal in Michigan. It is not advisable. It is contrary to all of the CDC best practices, it’s contrary to what the Trump White House is saying that we should be doing. And yet, they are out there to demonstrate.

Even as she claimed people were carrying around “nooses and confederate flags and swastikas,” footage filled the screen of protesters carrying nothing but homemade signs and American flags.

On Sunday, CNN’s State of the Union anchor Jake Tapper similarly teed up Whitmer to bash the demonstrators.

In addition to the softball about protesters, on Tuesday, Melvin also gently asked Whitmer, rumored to be on the vice presidential candidate short list, about the sexual assault allegation against presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden:

 

 

Your name, of course, continues to come up on this short list for Joe Biden. As you know, in the past week, the former Vice President has been accused of sexual assault. He’s vehemently denied the allegation itself. You are a Biden supporter, you’re one of his earlier backers, I know that you are also a sexual assault survivor as well. Is there anything you want to add to the conversation, Governor Whitmer, that’s emerged over the past few days?

First of all, former Senate staffer Tara Reade went public with her allegation against Biden nearly five weeks ago, on March 25, not “in the past week.” However, Melvin may be forgiven for not knowing that since his network didn’t air a story about the accusation until April 30.

Second, asking Whitmer if there was “anything you want to add” was so incredibly open-ended that it allowed the Democrat to respond however she wanted and completely control the topic:

I’ll just say, you know, I’ve read a lot about the allegations. I have talked with Joe Biden. I am confident he is who he says he is. I do believe that women should be given space and they should be listened to, but I also know that it’s incumbent that we vet thoroughly. And in this moment, I think under these circumstances and in the conversations that I’ve had with the Vice President, I am confident that he is who he says he is and I believe him. And I believe that he will be a good president for the United States of America. And beyond that, you know, I don’t know that there’s much more that I can add.

During an interview with Whitmer on April 15, Melvin treated her to equally easy questions and completely avoided the allegation against Biden.

Here is a full transcript of Melvin’s May 5 interview with Whitmer:

9:04 AM ET

CRAIG MELVIN: That was Gabe Gutierrez reporting there. Gabe mentioned the tensions in Michigan specifically, where protesters have been urging the Governor to reopen that state. Governor Gretchen Whitmer joins us this morning. Governor, good to see you again, thanks so much for your time.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: The Battle Over Reopening America; Michigan Governor on When to Ease Restrictions, Protests & More]

And I want to get to the tensions in just a moment, but I understand that just a few hours ago you announced initial manufacturing for a vaccine that is going to be made there in Michigan, in Kalamazoo, as I understand it. What does this all mean in the fight against COVID-19 and is this a step in reopening your state?

GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER [D-MI]: Well, we know this. Everyone wants to be out of the stay-home order, and yet, we know, too, that if you listen to epidemiologists and our public health experts, we can’t resume normal life until we have a vaccine. So the fact that there are human trials going on and that Pfizer has announced that they’re gonna be producing here in Michigan, I think, is a wonderful thing. It’s not imminent, but it is on the horizon, and I think we need to find those sources of inspiration.

We are all struggling in this moment of this global pandemic, where thousands of people are dying a day in our country. We’ve lost over 4,000 people in the state of Michigan, and so we take this very seriously, we do everything we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It’s not gone, we’ve seep a plateau, but it’s still here. And that’s why we’ve still got to be vigilant.

MELVIN: On Monday, a congressman there in Michigan sued you, saying that the stay-at-home order violated his constitutional rights, called the order itself unreasonable. There are a lot of folks in Michigan who think that you’ve gone too far. What do you say to them?

WHITMER: So Michigan is a state with almost 10 million people and we are the tenth largest state in the nation, and yet, we have the third highest number of deaths from COVID-19. We’ve had a uniquely tough reaction to COVID-19, and that’s why we’ve had to have some uniquely tough restrictions to combat it. What we know is that COVID-19 does not respect party line or state line, that it is incumbent on all of us to do everything we can to save lives in this moment and to eschew all of the partisan rhetoric that is out there. But listen not to pollsters, but to epidemiologists and health care professionals so that we are making the best informed decisions based on data, so we can keep people safe as we think about re-engaging sectors of our economy.

MELVIN: I want to talk to you about these demonstrators that I saw over the weekend in your state capitol, a number of them armed. I remember vividly a few years ago being in Ferguson, Missouri and protestors there, many of them protesting, they weren’t armed, they were referred to as thugs. These men and women, many of them carrying flags, walking around with their guns in your state capitol, not adhering to social distancing orders. They would appear to be in violation of a number of laws. Why weren’t they arrested?

WHITMER: So, unfortunately right now in Michigan we see a small number of people – it looks large on television. But when you think about this is a state of 10 million people, this is a small contingent that came out and made political statements. They carried nooses and confederate flags and swastikas. And yet, while we’re focusing on their carrying – their open carrying automatic rifles, that is legal in Michigan. It is not advisable. It is contrary to all of the CDC best practices, it’s contrary to what the Trump White House is saying that we should be doing. And yet, they are out there to demonstrate.

But what I want to point out is that the vast majority of people in Michigan are doing the right thing. And it’s because of them that this curve has flattened. It is because of them that we have saved lives in this process and can have the conversation about turning the dial and re-engaging sectors of our economy.

But the fact of the matter is, that kind of rhetoric, that kind of ugly political rallying is only making it harder for us to re-engage, which is the sad irony, is that demonstrations like that create the need to continue this aggressive stance that we’ve had to take to save lives.

MELVIN: Your name, of course, continues to come up on this short list for Joe Biden. As you know, in the past week, the former Vice President has been accused of sexual assault. He’s vehemently denied the allegation itself. You are a Biden supporter, you’re one of his earlier backers, I know that you are also a sexual assault survivor as well. Is there anything you want to add to the conversation, Governor Whitmer, that’s emerged over the past few days?

WHITMER: I’ll just say, you know, I’ve read a lot about the allegations. I have talked with Joe Biden. I am confident he is who he says he is. I do believe that women should be given space and they should be listened to, but I also know that it’s incumbent that we vet thoroughly. And in this moment, I think under these circumstances and in the conversations that I’ve had with the Vice President, I am confident that he is who he says he is and I believe him. And I believe that he will be a good president for the United States of America. And beyond that, you know, I don’t know that there’s much more that I can add.

I simply know that we as a country should be very cognizant of the fact that 70,000 people – more than 70,000 people have died. We have lost the equivalent of 9/11 and anticipate that number daily between now and the end of the month. That this is a crisis where 30 million people are unemployed in our country. And everything that I’m doing is focused on saving lives in the state of Michigan. And we need leaders who are going to be focused on data and doing the right thing.

MELVIN: Governor Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan. Governor, thank you, thanks for your time. Good luck to you as well.         

WHITMER: Thank you, take care.


Read the Original Article Here

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