(MADISON, WI) — Today, on a video press call prior to the protest at the state capital that was incited and encouraged by Donald Trump, Robin Vos, Scott Fitzgerald, and the State Republican party, Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Ben Wikler blasted them for throwing aside public safety for what they perceive as a political opportunity.
Chairman Wikler said, in part:
“Gathering for large in-person protests may not be as dangerous as drinking bleach but it can spread infections, cost lives, and delay the point for which it’s safe to re-open the economy. Trump, Robin Vos, and Wisconsin Republicans bare profound responsibility for the protests taking place today and the infections and deaths that will result from them, Trump helped incite these protests…he said at his press briefing ‘I think they’re listening, I think they listen to me, they seem to be protesters who like me.’ Trump bears personal responsibility.
“Robin Vos, after dressing in personal protective equipment and telling voters it was incredibly safe to go out to vote, told the Wisconsin State Journal he told people to attend the rally. Now he tells journalists he’s not a doctor and doesn’t know if it’s safe or not safe to go to these protests. Scott Fitzgerald, other Wisconsin Republicans, candidates on the Republican ticket have been attending these rallies, [and] have been promoting these rallies. As we saw the state Republican Party of Wisconsin in a Facebook group helping to organize the rally told people to leave their Trump gear, their confederate flags, and their AK-47s at home to manage the optics of this protest.
“But he knows and we all know that the whole Republican apparatus is supporting in-person protests that puts people at risk. Robin Vos, Scott Fitzgerald, and Wisconsin’s Republican state legislature have sued to end the stay-at-home order to override emergency powers to protect the public’s help and to force the opening the state’s economy before public health officials believe it is safe to presume business as usual…They want to extend this crisis and put people’s lives at risk…
“All of these people from Vos to President Trump to Scott Fitzgerald to Republicans in the state legislature and candidates running for office know what they are doing is wrong. They believe they can benefit politically from a protest movement that ignores the dangerous science of Coronavirus’s spread.
“[2 weeks ago] Wisconsin rejected their voter suppression techniques and rejected Trump’s hand-picked choice for the state Supreme Court…We’re now seeing the consequences of what they did: we know of 19 people who tested positive for Coronavirus after voting or working as poll workers…We may never know the true number of people who contracted coronavirus at the polls…We’ve seen an increase in the daily cases of coronavirus cases…We know [Trump, Vos, Fitzgerald] are doing nothing to reduce the risk of people going out to protest today.
“The Republican effort to ignore science, ignore public health, ignore the lives and safety of their own constituents and all Wisconsinites goes in the face not only of common sense but also of morality… What Republicans are doing today in supporting an in-person protest that could spread infection will hurt the economy, will hurt workers, and will hurt the health of Wisconsinites, especially ethos most at risk of COVID-19.”
If you would like the full video of video press conference please email [email protected]
ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND: Donald Trump, Wisconsin Republicans, And the Threat They Pose To Wisconsinites
In some of Donald Trump’s latest press briefings, he has helped incite the protests against the stay-at-home orders we are seeing take place across this country, and what is expected to happen on a very large scale at Wisconsin’s state capitol tomorrow. When asked if these protestors should follow the orders of the state governors, Trump has given responses that claimed people were keeping a safe distance from one another when they weren’t, that the protesters seem to be his supporters and respect him, and that they are simply expressing themselves. Trump cannot bring himself to tell Wisconsinites and the American people to do what is in best interest of keeping people safe and opening the economy up in a timely manner: Stay at home.
While the President has shown he doesn’t take this public health crisis seriously enough beyond his talking points, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has made it a priority to keep Wisconsinites safe, as his health secretary recently extended the stay-at-home deadline to May 26th. At the same time, the governor has recognized the need to open the state’s economy back up, and has put in place a plan that follows the guidelines put forth by Dr. Deborah Birx and Anthony Fauci.
Despite this, Assembly Leader Robin Vos and State Senate Majority leader are challenging the stay at home order in court, while they and their fellow Republican legislators encourage people to attend the mass protest on Friday. This will undoubtedly get people sick, further burden the state’s health care system, and leave some families and communities reeling from the loss of life that will follow. Beyond the sheer lack of care for public safety that the president and his fellow Republicans are showing by encouraging these protests, they also know that it is dangerous.
President Trump admitted that Georgia was wrong to open its nail salons, tattoo parlors, and massage parlors because it would be impossible to follow proper social distance guidelines; the state Republican Party of Wisconsin just moved their state convention back to July because they don’t want to have a mass gathering of attendees, and just over three weeks ago when the infection rate in Wisconsin was lower, Robin Vos dressed in full PPE told people it “perfectly safe” to go out and vote in person.
The state is already seeing an infection rate spike of COVID-19, with 19 cases reported as a result of the in-person election Trump, Vos, Fitzgerald, and their conservatives allies forced upon the state. They did so because they thought they could score a political victory, but Trump’s endorsed candidate still ended up losing by more than 10 points. Their encouragement of people to go to the polls and their dismissal of the need to adhere to stay at home orders will put an even greater strain on the health care system as they callously risk Wisconsinites’ lives.
Wisconsin Republicans are obstructing progress in the fight against Coronavirus as President Trump, beyond his failure to take this Coronavirus seriously when he first learned about the deadly virus, refuses to mobilize a national testing a contact tracing program. His administration previously promised to have 27,000,000 million tests in the market by March 28th. They have fallen well short of that goal.
Donald Trump, Robin Vos, Scott Fitzgerald, and their allies are a danger to the lives of Wisconsinites.