CV NEWS FEED // Former President Donald Trump rebuked rumored attempts to reinstate COVID-19 lockdowns and mandates, telling proponents, “Don’t even think about it.”
In a statement posted by his campaign account to X (formerly known as Twitter), Trump dismissed the “left-wing lunatics” who he says “are trying very hard to bring back COVID lockdowns and mandates with all of their sudden fearmongering about the new variants that are coming.”
Trump connected COVID policies with election integrity issues. “They want to restart the COVID hysteria so they can justify more lockdowns, more censorship, more illegal drop boxes, more mail-in ballots, and trillions of dollars in payoffs to their political allies heading into the 2024 election,” he said:
But to every COVID tyrant who wants to take away our freedom, hear these words: We will not comply, so don’t even think about it.
We will not shut down our schools. We will not accept your lockdowns. We will not abide by your mask mandates, and we will not tolerate your vaccine mandates.
Again tying COVID policies to elections, Trump claimed the left “rigged the 2020 election, and now they’re trying to do the same thing all over again by rigging the most important election in the history of our country, the 2024 election, even if it means trying to bring back COVID.” However, he added, “they will fail because we will not let it happen.”
As many observers indicated, Trump’s current rhetoric on COVID marks a shift from the then-president’s initial response to the novel coronavirus three years ago.
Context added by X users via the app’s Community Notes feature highlighted the 45th president’s mixed record on the matter when he was in the White House: “The Trump Administration along with other federal agencies began the lockdown and social distancing rules in 2020.”
The notes cite an August 2020 post by Trump, stating that he and his administration “turned [the economy] off,” an effort he claimed “saved millions of lives.”
The then-incumbent president, who was running for re-election at the time, made the post five months after his administration’s “15 Days to Slow the Spread” initiative – when there was an emerging consensus on the right that the COVID lockdowns and mask mandates were wrong.
Again, from Community Notes: “President Trump issued national guidelines that included closing schools and avoiding bars, restaurants and groups of more than 10.”
In debates with then-candidate Joe Biden, Trump did push back against draconian lockdown policies which by then were associated strongly with the Democratic Party, Democratic governors, and the Biden Campaign. “You can’t do this,” Trump said to Biden regarding lockdowns and mandates. “We can’t close up our nation [or] you’re not going to have a nation.”
X’s Community Notes feature was added by the app’s current owner, Elon Musk, when he took control late last year. Musk has called Community Notes a “game changer.”
Trump has also received criticism from many conservatives for his stance on COVID vaccines, the production of which his administration helped expedite by the initiative Operation Warp Speed.
Renewed calls by some to bring back COVID mandates have ramped up in the past few weeks. On August 20, Morris Brown College in Atlanta said they were reinstituting their mask mandate.
Trump is not the only prominent Republican to come out against bringing back COVID restrictions – a position that is widely seen as a “litmus test” to win the party’s nomination.
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds affirmed her opposition to lockdowns and mandates on Wednesday, stating:
Since news broke of COVID-19 restrictions being re-instated at some colleges and businesses across the U.S., concerned Iowans have been calling my office asking whether the same could happen here.
My answer — not on my watch. In Iowa, government respects the people it serves and fights to protect their rights. I rejected the mandates and lockdowns of 2020, and my position has not changed
Trump’s chief intra-party rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, has made his consistent and vehement opposition to lockdowns and mandates a central talking point in his campaign.
DeSantis has frequently criticized Trump from the right on COVID.
In June, the DeSantis campaign account on X posted a video contrasting the then-president’s praise for Florida’s strong anti-COVID-restrictions stance with footage of Trump saying he did the “right thing” by initially locking down the country.