KEY POINTS

  • Will president or governors be held accountable for opening too soon
  • Medical experts should lead the way
  • Chief executives squabble explains the divided states theory

While most Americans continue to support stay-at-home orders imposed by many governors to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, packs of protesters are rising nationwide, encouraged by comments from President Donald Trump, to open states economies.

Now comes Harvard Professor Theda Skocpol, and co-author of a soon to be released book "Upending American Politics," to say on National Public Radio that these protests are orchestrated at the national level by some of the same conservative organizations that played a big role in the rise of the Tea Party.

Right-wing groups are “sending cues to local activists that now's a good time to get out there and make a fuss,” she said on a broadcast Monday. “But I lean towards saying that, right now, this is pretty engineered and pretty intended to create a media spectacle - that it's not some kind of organic wave.”

Protesters claim to want their liberty to have their hair cut, go to work, get a massage, go to religious services, go on vacations, etc. Government Coronavirus lockdowns require only essential travel, people to wear masks shopping or conducting other business, isolation and safe distancing. 

Adam Brandon, president of FreedomWorks, told NPR these protests share much of the same DNA as the Tea Party, that many of these events have organizers who have been trained and have come up through the FreedomWorks network and that FreedomWorks is giving them advice.

Freedom Works describes itself as a conservative and libertarian advocacy group. Brandon said the group is not sponsoring protests.

Trump has repeatedly ignored the advice of his medical experts and pushed governors to open their states for business despite warnings of dire health consequences.

Governors want to reopen the economies of their states, too. But they are balancing that, as you say, against limiting the spread of the coronavirus and trying to save lives, NPR’s Joel Rose said. The governors say they want to see data that the number of cases in their states is falling for at least two weeks.

In the meantime the White House is threatening legal action.

"We have to give businesses more freedom to operate in a way that's reasonably safe," Attorney General Bill Barr said on the Hugh Hewitt radio program. "To the extent that governors don't and impinge on either civil rights or on the national commerce, our common market that we have here, then we'll have to address that.

“As lawsuits develop, as specific cases emerge in the states, we'll take a look at them," he added. Barr also described stay-at-home orders as "disturbingly close to house arrest."