Trump targets Pennsylvania over coronavirus restrictions
President Trump on Monday backed Pennsylvania residents who oppose restrictions intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus in the state and accused Democratic governors of leaving such measures in place “for political purposes.”
“The great people of Pennsylvania want their freedom now, and they are fully aware of what that entails,” Trump tweeted.
“The Democrats are moving slowly, all over the USA, for political purposes. They would wait until November 3rd if it were up to them,” he added, referring to Election Day. “Don’t play politics. Be safe, move quickly!”
The great people of Pennsylvania want their freedom now, and they are fully aware of what that entails. The Democrats are moving slowly, all over the USA, for political purposes. They would wait until November 3rd if it were up to them. Don’t play politics. Be safe, move quickly!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 11, 2020
Trump has previously expressed support for protesters demonstrating against stay-at-home orders, but the new criticism of Pennsylvania comes ahead of his expected trip to the battleground state this week.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolfe (D) has sparked pushback from state Republicans for his deliberate pace in reopening the state, which has more than 56,000 total cases of coronavirus.
The Supreme Court last Wednesday denied a request from a conservative political action committee and several businesses to halt Wolf’s stay-at-home order amid the pandemic.
The governor last week announced that 13 counties in the state would be able to lift some restrictions, allowing certain businesses to operate with proper social distancing in place. Four counties that were not given permission to reopen have indicated they plan to do so in defiance of Wolf’s orders, according to local media.
The president’s tweet on Monday also comes as his administration attempts to convince the country that it is safe to reopen businesses and return to work, even as polling shows many Americans favor leaving restrictions in place. In addition, many states are seeing their total case numbers increase week-to-week.
Further complicating matters, the White House is dealing with its own coronavirus cases within the building. One of Trump’s personal valets and the vice president’s press secretary tested positive last week, raising alarms about the virus spreading within the complex.
Top White House officials are given rapid tests on a daily basis, and officials in the building have conducted contact tracing with each positive case. The rapid tests are still not widely available across the country, and many states lack the infrastructure to conduct the contact tracing needed to identify and isolate potential carriers of the virus.
There are more than 1.3 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S., and nearly 80,000 people in the country have died from the virus.