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More than 150 restaurant owners endorse Biden, citing Trump's COVID-19 response

More than 150 restaurant owners endorse Biden, citing Trump's COVID-19 response
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More than 150 restaurant owners and chefs on Thursday released a joint letter announcing their support for Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenHillary Clinton responds to Chrissy Teigen tweet: 'I love you back' Supreme Court rejects Trump effort to shorten North Carolina mail-ballot deadline Overnight Defense: Trump campaign's use of military helicopter raises ethics concerns | Air Force jets intercept aircraft over Trump rally | Senators introduce bill to expand visa screenings MORE, arguing that President TrumpDonald John TrumpHillary Clinton responds to Chrissy Teigen tweet: 'I love you back' Police called after Florida moms refuse to wear face masks at school board meeting about mask policy Supreme Court rejects Trump effort to shorten North Carolina mail-ballot deadline MORE “has failed the restaurant industry” in his responses to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The endorsement comes as the food industry continues to face the impacts of COVID-19 across the country, with Yelp reporting last week that approximately 60 percent of the restaurants on its platform have been forced to permanently close since the start of the pandemic. 

Thursday’s letter, titled “Restaurants for Biden,” cites analysis from the National Restaurant Association that “three decades of restaurant jobs were lost during the national shutdown in March and April,” asserting that the continued strains on restaurants could be tied to Trump’s delayed responses to the pandemic. 

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“Throughout the crisis, the restaurant industry has begged this administration for support,” the group wrote in the letter.

“We have pleaded with officials to fix the PPP program, recognize the oncoming tsunami of restaurant closings that we are now starting to see and respond with a plan,” the group added, referring to the Paycheck Protection Program.

“Yet, at every turn, the President has mishandled the response,” the group continued. “He has downplayed our struggles, refuted the idea that restaurants will suffer because they rely on social interaction and insisted there were no personal protective equipment shortages that are required to keep restaurant staff safe.” 

The owners and chefs wrote in the letter that Biden “would take the immediate steps needed to solve the COVID crisis and support America’s small businesses and restaurants in our recovery.” 

In a press release responding to the endorsement, the Biden campaign highlighted that the announcement came during National Small Business Week, adding that Trump’s response to COVID-19 has been “devastating” for “America’s small businesses, particularly those run by people of color.”

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The campaign said in the statement that it would be “hosting dozens of small business events, launching ads in key battleground states featuring entrepreneurs, and working with the new Small Business & Entrepreneurs Advisory Council to mobilize the small business community.” 

Trump has repeatedly faced criticism from Democrats for not taking more direct actions in the early months of the pandemic, especially after journalist Bob Woodward released tapes that showed the president admitted in a March interview to downplaying the threat of COVID-19 in order to not “create a panic.” 

Last week, Trump announced that he would be adding $13 billion in aid for farmers who have been financially hurt by the pandemic as part of his appeal to supporters in rural areas of the country. This financial support came in addition to the $19 billion given to farmers in April by the Department of Agriculture as part of the CARES Act.