House Democratic leaders highlight coordinated misinformation and intimidation tactics to push back against public health protection

HARRISBURG, Oct. 5 – Following the release of emails among Pennsylvania House and Senate Republicans, county officials and outside agitator groups related to Lebanon County’s pushback on COVID-19 mitigation efforts, House Democratic leaders released the following statement:

“For months, it has been apparent that the House Republican Caucus was politicizing this pandemic for their own legislative and political purposes. The release of emails from PA Spotlight now proves that to be true.

“According to the emails, House Republicans this spring went so far as to enlist the help of local elected officials, law enforcement and the healthcare industry in a targeted campaign to undermine the Wolf administration’s mitigation efforts and cover up vital information about the spread of the virus. At the same time, they acknowledge that they are not medical experts and do not possess the expertise to manage a public health emergency. Time and again, they have taken calculated steps to ensure that they are laying the groundwork for their fight, even going so far as to the now-speaker reading ‘certain things into the record for reference to legislative intent in the inevitable court battle.’

 “Over the course of the last five months, 45 days of legislative session have been wasted due to political games. From creating wasteful bureaucracy in an attempt to obstruct the governor, to trying to make Pennsylvania the only state in the nation to prematurely end our COVID-19 disaster declaration, to running pointless legislation to reopen churches and businesses that were never closed in the first place, to spreading fake reopening plans on social media, and finally, actively trying to conceal a positive COVID-19 case within their ranks, House Republicans’ goals are clear: It’s not about protecting or helping Pennsylvanians during this incredibly difficult time; it’s about scoring political points with little care for who’s hurt in the process.

 “More than 200,000 Americans, including over 8,200 Pennsylvanians, are dead from this virus -- and more than 164,000 Pennsylvanians have been infected. However, the House Republican leaders felt it more important to make the governor and his administration look bad than work together to protect the people they swore an oath to serve. This behavior is a clear violation of the people’s trust.”