Outside groups backing President Donald Trump's re-election campaign are pushing to end statewide lockdowns through public protests and insidious conspiracy theories.
Their efforts contradict the administration's own guidelines, but the pro-Trump right has coalesced around opposition to social distancing guidelines as part of their broader efforts to re-elect the president, reported ABC News.
Trump himself has tweeted out calls to "liberate" states governed by Democrats, but protests have erupted even in states where Republican governors have implemented stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The president's re-election campaign has trained an army of surrogates to undermine local news reporting, according to campaign manager Brad Parscale, and right-wing influencers such as Turning Points USA and ViralPAC are bombarding social media with memes and other content aimed at undermining public health experts.
“The pro-Trump influencers create a closed ecosystem of disinformation, one that is immune to fact-checking because its target audience is consistently getting the same message from multiple channels about, for example, Trump's response to the pandemic,” said Jason Goldman, former White House technology officer under President Barack Obama.
“But more importantly [the strategy] is to create a media environment in which nothing can be trusted," he added. "There are no expert sources, the media elites are lying to you, it's all a deep state conspiracy, etc. If there's no objective truth except what you can find by 'doing your own research' there is little left but tribal loyalty."