Donald Trump Has Discovered He Can Dial Up a Mob Whenever He Wants

Protesters block streets in Lansing, Michigan, to display their hostility toward the governor’s stay-at-home order.TNS via ZUMA

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones’ newsletters.For the first time ever, I’m a little scared of what Trump might do later this year:

Will be forever haunted by this image of protestors in Ohio demanding the governor open businesses back up
— future canon (@futurecanon) April 15, 2020

The picture is from Joshua Bickel of the Columbus Dispatch, and it shows a swarm of protesters outside the Ohio statehouse. Roughly speaking, what happened is that Trump ordered up a mob, Fox News and Rush Limbaugh passed the order along, and local GOP groups happily ginned one up. Needless to say, this isn’t limited to Ohio:
Across the nation, protests against the stay-at-home orders that health experts say are needed to save lives are taking place, with more set for the coming days….In Raleigh, more than 100 demonstrators gathered to protest Democratic North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s stay-at-home order…. Kentucky, Utah and Wyoming also saw similar protests. More events are scheduled for Pennsylvania, Virginia, Texas, Oregon, Idaho and Washington state.
The largest took place in Michigan on Thursday, where police said 3,000 to 4,000 people showed up at the state Capitol in Lansing to protest Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s extended and expanded stay-at-home order, which was signed into law last week. The protests have had a tea party flavor to them, with demonstrators carrying “Don’t Tread on Me” flags and wearing “Make America Great Again” gear. Some have even waved Confederate flags.
As always, the danger here is not so much Trump himself. It’s been obvious for a long time that he’s a sociopath who doesn’t care about—or maybe even understand—the consequences of his actions on other people. The danger is that the Republican Party, so far, is cheerfully going along with him. Even in the middle of a global pandemic that’s already killed more than 100,000 people, they are acting as Trump’s loyal spear carriers no matter how reckless or deadly he’s become.
Even after three years of Trump, I guess I didn’t believe that Republicans would truly go so far. But even the prospect of bodies stacked endlessly in mass graves hasn’t brought them to their senses. I guess at this point nothing will.