NPR Host Suggests President Donald Trump Is Encouraging ‘Armed Insurrection’

On Saturday, NPR Weekend Edition host Scott Simon implied twice that President Donald Trump’s recent tweets about liberating states from government shutdowns due to the coronavirus crisis might encourage “armed insurrection.”

‘Armed Insurrection?’ Really?

During an interview with Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, who leads a state where protests have been taking place, Simon pressed the issue.


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Simon asked DeWine, “As I don’t have to tell you, there were anti-stay-at-home protests in – right there in Columbus this week. And I have to ask you, Governor DeWine, when President Trump calls on people in Michigan, Minnesota and Virginia – those are states with Democratic governors – to, quote, “liberate” themselves from lockdown, is that a call for insurrection?”

DeWine replied, “No, I don’t think so. Look; I mean, we have…”

Simon asked, “Well, what else does liberate mean?”

“Well, the people have every right to demonstrate,” DeWine said. “This is what I’ve said to people who were protesting against me, people who are very upset with me. I say, look; there’s the First Amendment. They have a right to speak out.”

“They have a right to demonstrate,” DeWine said. “You know, it is what it is. My job is to, you know, look at what is in the best interests of Ohioans. We were very early in taking some very dramatic steps to protect Ohioans. I’m going to continue to do that. But at the same time, I understand the demonstrators.”


Trump: ‘Save your great Second Amendment. It is under siege.’

“They want to get the economy moving again. No one is more anxious to do that than I am,” DeWine continued. “So I understand where they’re coming from. But we also have to do it in a rational way. We have to do it in a phased way that protects human life and protects our medical institutions from being totally overrun.”

“So this is a nuanced balance of things that, you know, we’re trying to do here,” DeWine added.

Simon then pressed DeWine further, “Well, but I got to pressure you a bit on this because the president also tweeted, “liberate Virginia.’ Save your great Second Amendment. It is under siege. And they followed that up from the White House podium.”


“Is that a call for armed insurrection?” Simon asked.

“No, I don’t think that’s a call for anything other than, you know, the president is tweeting what he wants to tweet,” DeWine said. “But again, you know, I’m sure there were many people who in Ohio were saying, you know, go demonstrate against DeWine, et cetera.”

“And so that’s – look; the First Amendment is what it is, and we respect the First Amendment,” DeWine said.


NPR Further Pushes ‘Armed Insurrection’ Narrative

Then, Simon later asked Ron Elving, a senior editor and news analyst at NPR and an outspoken Barack Obama supporter, about “armed insurrection.”

“The president, of course, also tweeted he wanted people in Michigan, Minnesota and Virginia to — quote — liberate their states,” Simon said, playing an audio clip of Trump speaking about the threat to the Second Amendment in Virginia, where Gov. Ralph Northam has pushed for more gun control laws. Trump made his comments at one of his daily coronavirus press conferences.

“Ron, I don’t think this is a time to hide behind euphemisms so let me ask you directly: Is this a call for armed insurrection in the United States?” Simon asked.

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“When you say one night the governors are going to call their own shots and then the next night you encourage people to resist their governor — put him under siege — and the legislature and you associate that resistance with guns through talk of the Second Amendment, you surely risk inflaming those who are most combustible.”

“Does Trump actually want there to be bloodshed, no I don’t think so but does he want the show of support he is getting from these groups, well, why else would he be goading then on?” Elving said.

is a professional writer and editor with over 15 years of experience in conservative media and Republican politics. He... More about John Hanson

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