DES MOINES — This morning, ahead of Donald Trump’s rally in Dubuque, 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.

While State Rep. Ashley Hinson and Senator Ernst spoke during the pre-event at Trump’s rally, Democrats highlighted how the Trump administration, Senator Ernst, and Hinson 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.

During the pre-event, Senator Ernst shamelessly mocked Iowans and medical experts with serious concerns about the risk of COVID-19 spread at the event, saying, “The folks on the left, they hate seeing crowds like this.” This comes after Ernst and Governor Reynolds faced scrutiny for mocking Theresa Greenfield for following the advice of medical experts and pausing her statewide RV tour for one day after campaign members came in contact with a person who later tested positive.

Read some remarks from the press conference below:

IDP Chair Mark Smith: 

“Donald Trump is risking our state’s public health by holding a super-spreader rally in Dubuque. Iowa is already in the Red Zone and Trump’s events in other cities have resulted in Americans getting sick and dying from the virus he has utterly failed to contain. Iowans need our leaders to put public health before politics and help us through this virus. But Donald Trump still doesn’t have a plan to do a thing about it.

“As Iowa battles the worst COVID outbreak yet, Senator Ernst is supporting the GOP lawsuit to repeal the entire ACA and rip health coverage away. Ernst has failed us – not just in trying to take away our health care, but in leaving Iowans unprepared, misinformed, and at greater risk for this crisis. In 2 days, we will elect Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Theresa Greenfield and Democrats across the country and build back better.”

State Senator Pam Jochum (SD-50):

“It didn’t have to be this bad. As a nation and a state we have always pulled through crises by pulling together. But Donald Trump has done just the opposite. He has divided us as a nation and people. And unfortunately Senator Ernst and Governor Reynolds have done nothing to stand up to him and say ‘enough is enough.’ I’m getting pretty darn tired of science being dismissed and the recommendations of our public health experts being dismissed as well. Quite frankly, Donald Trump has become nothing more than the Covid spreader-in-chief and I am incredibly concerned about his visit to Dubuque.

“This virus is out of control and our economy is not going to fully recover until we contain this virus. The health of our economy goes hand in hand with the health of its people. I’m wondering how many more people Donald Trump and the Republicans are willing to let die before they actually start doing anything. They’ve had more than ample time and haven’t done anything yet. If you love your neighbor, wear a mask. If you love your country, wear a mask.”

Bill Stumpf, Dubuque:

“At this point we’re really getting a double-whammy. I access my health care through the ACA exchanges and I’m here to tell you all today that it works. My son relies on Medicaid for his health care. There’s constant cuts to Medicaid, and we’ve felt that in our state with the privatization of the program which has been devastating. It’s still not working and it’s a mess, but I’m honored to say that we have local leaders like Senator Jochum who will fight to make it better.

“The ACA has offered me the opportunity to work part time and be able to care for my family. The concern I have with cuts to Medicaid for Kyle is that he relies on a job coach to be successful in the workplace. If the job coaching was cut, he could be at risk of losing his job and he loves that job. It provides independence to him and the community. If we elect Joe Biden we will build on the ACA and work with state legislators to shore up Medicaid and make sure it doesn’t fall out beneath folks. It’s real health care, and it works.”