Washington — Dr. Scott Atlas, a close adviser to President Trump on thepandemic, encouraged Michigan residents to "rise up" after Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced more stringent restrictions on schools and businesses to mitigate a surge in coronavirus cases.
In response to a tweet outlining the new order from Whitmer, a Democrat, Atlas tweeted Sunday "the only way this stops is if people rise up. You get what you accept."
Atlas, who serves on the White House coronavirus task force, then clarified that he was encouraging Michigan residents to take peaceful action and was not advocating for violence.
"Hey. I NEVER was talking at all about violence. People vote, people peacefully protest. NEVER would I endorse or incite violence. NEVER!!" he said in a second tweet.
As Michigan experiences a spike in coronavirus infections, Whitmer's administration ordered high schools and colleges to stop in-person classes, halted organized sports and directed restaurants to stop indoor dining. Indoor residential gatherings are also limited, while outdoor gatherings are restricted to 25 people. Whitmer also closed entertainment facilities as part of her efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The new restrictions are set to take effect Wednesday.
Whitmer was the focus of anby right-wing militias to kidnap her over her previous pandemic restrictions. Thirteen people were arrested in separate plots by state and federal law enforcement in October.
Michigan is one of several states facing a rise in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. The U.S. leads the world in coronavirus infections, with more than 11 million, and more than 246,000 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.