(WISCONSIN) — Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, President of the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Care Professionals Jeff Weber, and health care professionals blasted Donald Trump and the Republicans for their failed coronavirus response and dangerous decision to campaign in person during the pandemic. Trump’s visit to the state comes as the Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported that over 1,000 Wisconsinites have died from COVID-19. During the press call, Barnes, Weber, and other health care professionals condemned Trump’s failure to lead and called on him to tune into the Democratic convention to hear the stories of hardworking Wisconsinites hurt by his horrible coronavirus response, instead of holding a photo-op that does nothing to solve the crisis facing our state.
Watch the full event here or read excerpts of what the speakers said below.
Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes: “In order to solve any problem you have to first admit that there is a problem, and Donald Trump has yet to do that. He is showing his lack of sincerity in addressing this issue in any sort of way by scheduling an in person visit to Wisconsin this week. He’s doing that because he is not very popular in the state at the moment and he is trying to do everything that he can do. This is a very desperate move, but a desperate move that will put lives at risk, including the people who are traveling with him, including his own… Peoples’ lives and safety have been completely disregarded since Donald Trump took office. He has shown no willingness to help people out, especially those who are in need, especially those who are struggling, so as we battle COVID-19 we are doing the responsible thing. We have always let the medical advice and science guide our decision making, and we’re going to continue to do that, even if it means we can’t have the exciting time that we planned to have in nominating the next president of the United States of America, Joe Biden. Even if it means we can’t celebrate with tens of thousands of our closest friends, we are going to do the responsible thing, because that’s what this moment calls for us to do. That’s what the nation is calling for us to do, and the country can see an example of what it means to make the sacrifice so we can provide a better quality of life for people all across this country.”
Jeff Weber: “I represent over 2500 health care workers across our state who are on the frontlines fighting this pandemic. Everyday they go to work risking their lives — wondering if this is the day that they may catch the virus. You see, even though we’ve been fighting this virus for nearly six months, Donald Trump is still abandoning nurses, doctors, and health care professionals… The people of Wisconsin are suffering, and as of this week, at least 1,000 Wisconsinites have died of COVID-19 and over 60,000 have tested positive. 1,000 is a hard number to swallow, 1,000+ grandparents, parents, friends, and family members, all ripped from us because of Trump and his Republican colleagues inability to listen to science and experts… It is in insult that Trump, Pence, and other Republicans would come here to hold in person campaign events as this crisis rages. Their carelessness and recklessness is a slap in the face to health and essential workers who put their lives at risk everyday… The Democratic Party has shown us what it means to value people over politics, and has made the difficult yet smart decision to present their party convention virtually. The Republicans who continue to bury Wisconsin under this pandemic could learn a thing or two by watching the Democratic Convention where they’ll see the pain they’ve caused our state.”
Marcia Steele: “I am dealing with the result of the president’s failed response to the coronavirus pandemic every single day. From the moment that the virus hit, it was clear that the president and Wisconsin Republicans were not going to provide the support and leadership we need. For months all they’ve done is watch the death toll grow… How many more patients will I have to swab? How many family members will be infected and possibly lose their life because of this event?… Countless lives depend on us electing new leadership this fall. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have a comprehensive plan to get the pandemic under control and support the workers who are risking their lives to help patients… I’m proud that my party made the tough decision to hold a virtual convention. They trust science and the public health experts, knowing it is the best way to keep people safe. That’s the sort of leadership we deserve and that’s what we’ll get with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in the White House.”
Kate Walton: “For the past few months, I’ve watched COVID-19 cases skyrocket, I’ve cared for patients with tragic outcomes that could have been prevented or avoided, and have felt my cries and my frustration have been ignored by the current administration. The absence of any form of leadership from Donald Trump and the White House is a driving reason behind why we have seen a surge of COVID-19 cases in proportion with our population, especially in comparison to other countries… Trump refused to take this pandemic seriously from the outset and continues to do so… Trump boasts that America is the greatest country in the world, yet we are rationing PPE because as a country we’ve never taken any of the steps that could help us survive this pandemic. We need supplies, we need help, we need leadership. I wake up every morning, knowing that I am putting myself in a direct line of fire with a deadly illness, only to see Donald Trump and Mike Pence parade around Wisconsin for a political photo-op. That is not the leadership we asked for… I support Joe Biden and Kamala Harris because they listen to science, they care about public health, and they are fighting to put nurses like me out of harm’s way.”