White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Scott Atlas criticized Michigan's new Covid-19 restrictions in a tweet shortly after they were announced Sunday evening, urging people to "rise up" against the new public health measures.
"The only way this stops is if people rise up," Atlas said. "You get what you accept. #FreedomMatters #StepUp"
His message -- which runs counter to the consensus of public health officials -- is likely to fuel new tension between the White House and Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, whom federal and state officials announced last month was the target of an alleged domestic terrorism kidnapping plot.
Responding to Atlas' tweet Sunday evening, Whitmer told CNN's Wolf Blitzer, "We know that the White House likes to single us out here in Michigan, me out in particular. I'm not going to be bullied into not following reputable scientists and medical professionals."
Instead, Whitmer said, she consults "people that actually have studied and are well respected worldwide on these issues, not the -- not the individual that is doing the President's bidding on this one."
Whitmer announced in a news conference earlier Sunday that Michigan will begin a "three-week pause targeting indoor social gatherings and other group activities" to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.