On Friday evening, the Washington Examiner, a right-wing newspaper, reported that President Donald Trump was on the verge of mobilizing the National Guard and imposing a two-week period of complete national quarantine in the United States. In other words, declaring martial law to force every American to stay in his or her home. Only grocery and drug stores would remain open, according to the Examiner:
“President Trump, moving with haste to slow the spread of the coronavirus, is preparing a plan to mobilize the National Guard to help enforce a two-week quarantine of the public if his tough-love efforts so far fail.
“The unprecedented action would require everyone to ‘stay at home,’ according to a source knowledgeable of the evolving plan.
“The effort, which is still being mulled and wouldn’t be announced until early next week if needed, would urge that all businesses, except grocery stores and pharmacies, be closed.”
While such orders have been imposed by the governors of California, Illinois, and New York, there hasn’t been a hint that such a move would be taken on a national level, and the Examiner failed to provide any substantiation for their report.
Earlier in the day, Trump himself had been asked at a press conference if plans for a national shutdown were being planned. He replied:
“I don’t think we’ll ever find it necessary.”
But that didn’t keep the Examiner from building an entire false narrative around their specious reporting, adding this to the mix, too:
“A knowledgeable source said that Department of Homeland Security officials are telling states that it is ready to mobilize the National Guard and dispatch them with U.S. military and first responders.
“The goal is to have them dispatched before any call for a national quarantine. The reason: Stop looters and other violence.
“They will announce this as soon as they have troops in place to help prevent looters and rioters and will announce before the end of the weekend.”
The Mayor of Houston said he was going to get to the bottom of such rumors, noting that those who were doing so would be prosecuted:
There is a video on social media of a person saying she was in a meeting with government officials confirming that there will be a city lockdown this weekend or Monday. All of this is false. I am asking HPD and Harris County DAs Office to investigate for possible prosecution. st
— Sylvester Turner (@SylvesterTurner) March 20, 2020
Granted, a national lockdown with the use of troops is indeed possible, but the Examiner is clearly putting the cart before the horse and causing unnecessary fear. Until such a plan is implemented, there doesn’t need to be such speculation. The country is under enough stress without this kind of bullshit.