Donald Trump doubles down on claim anti-lockdown protesters ‘are social distancing’ as demonstrators pack together – The Sun

PRESIDENT Donald Trump has insisted that anti-lockdown protesters are social distancing, despite pictures showing thousands of them standing in close proximity of one another without masks or gloves.

The demonstrators, mostly right-wing followers, anti-vaccination advocates and gun rights activists, were pictured standing close together, in defiance of the social distancing guidelines meant to slow the spread of coronavirus.

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Since last week, thousands of demonstrators — in more than a dozen states — took to the streets to demand stay-at-home orders be lifted.

They were pictured standing close by to one another, disregarding the social distancing rules that health experts insist are critical to saving lives amid the deadly outbreak.

Trump told reporters at his daily briefing: "I've watched some of the protests, not in great detail, but I've seen that and they're separated, a lot of space in between."

"They're watching, believe it or not, they're doing social distancing, if you can believe it and they are.

"And they're protesting and the groups I've seen have been very much spread out so I think that's good."

I've watched some of the protests, not in great detail, but I've seen that and they're separated, a lot of space in between

The president had last week supported the protesters, calling them "very responsible people"

He said on Sunday that he saw protesters that were adhering to the social distancing measures by standing six feet apart.

Following his comments, the director of the CDCP, Robert Redfield, warned yesterday that a second wave of coronavirus next winter could be "even more difficult", adding that the anti-lockdown protests were "not helpful".

But the president hit back, saying: "Look, it's not a question of helpful or not, people want to get back to work, they want to make a living.

"They have to take care of their family — they don't want to do this."

The death toll in the US surpassed 45,000 Tuesday evening — the highest in the world — with more than 800,000 confirmed infections.

Yesterday, Kentucky experienced its highest single-day spike in coronavirus cases after protests broke out in the state to lift lockdowns, according to reports.

It comes as public health officials have warned that lifting restrictions too early could lead to a spike in cases.

On Friday, Trump encouraged three states, the have seen anti-lockdown protests, to "liberate" on Friday — echoing the language of the protesters as others condemned their actions.

Trump went on to tweet "liberate Minnesota!", "liberate Michigan!" and "liberate Virginia!" in quick succession, giving little context to the messages.

With more protests planned, Trump demurred from telling the demonstrators — many of whom have shown up in pro-Trump merchandise — to stay home.

"And when the virus passes, I hope we're going to be sitting next to each other at baseball games, football games, basketball games, ice hockey games," Trump said.

"I hope we're going to be sitting next to each other — the Masters is going to have 100,000 people, not 25 watching the course."

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