Trump’s press secretary belittles governors’ orders to curb COVID-19 as ‘Orwellian’
WASHINGTON, D.C. (WKBT) — Even as the governors of Wisconsin, Minnesota and several other states tightened restrictions to control COVID-19, President Donald Trump’s press secretary on Wednesday dismissed such orders as “Orwellian.”
Scoffing at warnings against large family Thanksgiving gatherings while COVID-19 numbers are escalating nationwide, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said, “The American people know how to protect their health.”
McEnany was especially critical of the Beaver State during an interview on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” Wednesday morning, saying, “It’s Orwellian in a place like Oregon to say if you gather in numbers more than six, we might come to your house and arrest you, and you get 30 days of jail time.”
McEnany’s comments seemed almost prescient about statements that Minnesota and Wisconsin governors would issue later in the day.
Wednesday evening, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced a four-week prohibition to several activities in the state, including in-person social gatherings with individuals outside people’s households.
In addition, bars and restaurants must dial back to take-out and delivery service only; gyms, fitness studios, entertainment venues, event spaces and similar establishments must close, and adult and youth sports must halt, Walz ordered during an address to Minnesotans.
Meanwhile, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers told reporters Wednesday afternoon that he plans to issue an order this week to extend the state’s emergency declaration and accompanying mask mandate through mid-January.
Evers said he doesn’t plan any additional requirements beyond the mask mandate. Court rulings in recent months, including the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision in May to strike down his stay-at-home order, severely crimp his options, he said.
For her part earlier in the day, McEnany said, “That’s not the American way. We don’t lose our freedom in this country. We make responsible health decisions as individuals.
“We can wash our hands, wear masks, socially distance, but we can also decide in our own home whether we can have our family members present at any given time. That is the American way. That is freedom,” said McEnany, who also is an adviser to Trump’s reelection campaign.
The Centers for Disease Control has issued guidelines about social distancing, wearing masks and other activities but has not recommended limiting the numbers of people in a home, she said.