FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 29, 2020
ICYMI: Iowa Democrats Respond to Pence’s Super-Spreader Rally Today, Call out the Trump Administration’s Failure to Control COVID-19
DES MOINES — This morning, ahead of Vice President Mike Pence’s rally, Iowa Democrats held a virtual press conference to hold the Trump administration and Senator Joni Ernst accountable for their failure to contain the virus as transmission rates are spiking and hospitalizations continue to set new daily records.
During the press conference, IDP Chair Mark Smith, Rep. Jo Oldson (HD-41), and Ross Daniels, an Iowans who have been affected by the coronavirus, highlighted how the Trump administration, Senator Ernst, and Governor Reynolds have left Iowans behind during the pandemic. Republicans have refused to pass a comprehensive COVID relief package while moving forward with a decades-long crusade to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and its protections for pre-existing conditions.
Read some remarks from the press conference below:
IDP Chair Mark Smith:
“Today, Vice President Pence is in Iowa for the 3rd time since the start of this pandemic and he still doesn’t have a plan to fix it. Make no mistake, Iowa is officially in the Red Zone. President Trump and Washington Republicans like Senator Ernst’s refusal to acknowledge the magnitude of the loss our state has faced is a stark reminder to Iowans of the importance of sound policy and planning.
“On Monday, Ernst gave up on relief negotiations and then left Washington without a deal. On Tuesday, she joined a potentially infectious campaign rally in Nebraska with no mask mandate or social distancing. Yesterday, she held close-quarters campaign events where attendees were unmasked. And today, she’ll once again blow off CDC guidelines for an irresponsible campaign rally here in Des Moines.
“This is a pattern of negligence, downplaying this virus, and ignoring its consequences to Iowans. So it’s no surprise she’s failed to pass the Phase 4 relief we need, because she has disconnected herself from the reality of the crisis. That’s why Iowans are showing up in record numbers to reject another six years of Ernst’s attacks on our health care in Washington.”
State Rep. Jo Oldson (HD-41):
“This day sort of reminds me of the old adage: ‘don’t just listen to my words, watch my actions.’ Because throughout the past several months, we have experienced this total lack of leadership from the [White House] down, and once again today, we are seeing that lack of leadership in action with Mr. Pence coming to Des Moines when we continue here in Iowa to struggle so badly with this virus.
“I find it sort of ironic that he is the leader of the White House coronavirus task force, as experts have consistently been telling us to not gather in crowds, wear a mask, and stay apart. Yet his actions today are not showing that, and we continue to struggle because of actions like this. We continue to have record highs in hospitalizations and nearly 1,700 Iowans have lost their lives. There’s a distinct feeling that leadership from the presidency on down to our governor and our U.S. Senators is just showing total disregard for Iowans’ health and what we’re struggling with here in Iowa.”
Ross Daniels, an Iowan who lost his father to COVID-19:
“I’m just one small voice, but I’m a voice for millions that have lost a loved one to COVID-19. We’re the mourners. My father passed away from COVID at 1 AM on May 5th, holding the hands of nurses he didn’t know. It wasn’t safe for my sister or me to be by his side. The nurses were wearing full personal protective equipment, already in short supply, meaning the last faces he saw before he left this world were strangers.
“The President of the United States has not only chosen to ignore the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have died on his watch in one of the greatest derelictions of presidential duty in history, Trump has actually decided it’s to his political advantage to diminish the value of these lives already lost while jeopardizing millions more through outright lies. In this, Joni Ernst has only been silently complicit. My father and the more than 225,000 lives are not, as Trump said, ‘virtually nobody’ and I find that extremely insulting and offensive.
“As Vice President Biden has said, Donald Trump has chosen fiction over science. He’s also chosen cruelty over caring and empathy. He’s peddled snake oil, bleach, and UV lights over medicine. He’s chosen lies to the American people over truth. Trump knew in January that this virus could travel through the air, he knew this was far more fatal than the flu, and he knew that kids could spread it. Trump promised America that there would be a vaccine by election day. Where is that vaccine, Mr. President? Promises made, promises broken.”