President Trump jabbed Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf over his policy of continued shutdowns across the state in response to the coronavirus.
“You know you have large portions of your state which are not affected or are not badly affected,” Trump said to Philadelphia radio host Chris Stigall Friday morning.
“You have to have a little flexibility, and what they’re doing in Pennsylvania — it’s too much, too much. People have to get on with their lives. People are dying this way [from being in lockdown] too when you do that. You look at overdoses and you look at suicides, and you look at all of the problems of people losing their job.
“You have to show a little flexibility and — I don’t know what happened to him. But I guess that’s why you’re going to be voting for a Republican next time, perhaps.”
The president’s poke came a day after his visit to an Allentown distribution facility that has been key in shipping out personal protective equipment to frontline medical workers fighting the pandemic. Trump called out Wolf during that visit as well.
“Next year is going to be through the roof,” Trump predicted about the nation’s economy. “We have to get your governor of Pennsylvania to start opening up a little bit. You have areas of Pennsylvania that are barely affected, but they [the Wolf administration] want to keep them closed.”
Trump’s pressure on Wolf comes as the governor has been trying to stave off bill after bill by Republicans in the General Assembly trying to reopen more of the economy. Additionally, Democratic county commissioners in places like Bucks and Delaware Counties have been asking the administration to loosen a key metric used to determine when a county can reopen.
All this comes admit a backdrop of damaging media coverage.
After the administration released a list of waivers granted to businesses through the state — a list the media and Republicans had been seeking for over a month — some businesses were notified that their waivers were being revoked just as the list was coming out.
Another investigative report showed the state had developed a plan early on to protect elderly in long-term care and nursing home facilities, but then failed to implement it.
And Wolf’s health secretary, Rachel Levine, has been under fire for moving her own mother out of a nursing home as the number of deaths at long-term care facilities (LCTF) has skyrocketed. Nearly 70 percent of all COVID-19 fatalities in the state have been residents of LTCFs.
Wolf is moving 13 more counties into the “yellow” hybrid reopening phase on Friday, joining 24 other counties. All but one of the counties that will remain in the “red” shutdown phase are in the eastern portion of the state, including the Delaware Valley.