President Donald Trump will visit the battleground state of Pennsylvania on Thursday, as Gov. Tom Wolf struggles to contain mounting resistance to his COVID-19 lockdowns.
With the pandemic devastating the economy, the Trump administration has sought to strike a balance between protecting lives and ensuring livelihoods, with White House messaging increasingly focused on encouraging state governors to ease restrictions.
The president has accused some Democrat state governors, including Wolf, of dragging their feet in restarting economic activity. Around 2 million Pennsylvania residents have lost their jobs since mid-March.
“The great people of Pennsylvania want their freedom now, and they are fully aware of what that entails,” Trump wrote in a tweet Monday. “The Democrats are moving slowly, all over the USA, for political purposes. They would wait until November 3rd if it were up to them.”
“Dont play politics,” Trump added. “Be safe, move quickly!”
Trump is expected to visit a medical equipment distributor outside Allentown on Thursday. It will be Trumps 18th trip to the state as president, a marker of Pennsylvanias importance to his reelection hopes. A White House spokesperson cited by the Philadelphia Inquirer said the president is expected to deliver remarks on COVID-19 testing.
Wolf, a Democrat, is facing a growing revolt over his stay-at-home orders and business shutdowns.
State Republicans passed legislation in April to limit Wolfs powers during the disaster emergency, which he vetoed. Egged on by state GOP lawmakers, counties have threatened to defy his orders while at least a few business owners have reopened despite his warnings.
Wolf, meanwhile, has argued he is just trying to keep people safe.
“The dangers associated with #COVID19 may not be readily visible to all, but they are present. We are fighting a war that has taken the lives of too many people. And were winning. The politicians who are encouraging us to quit the fight are acting in a most cowardly way,” he wrote in a tweet.
On Monday, Wolf threatened to hit businesses that violate his lockdown order with penalties, including loss of operating licenses, difficulties with insurance, or getting cut off from relief funds.
“I wont sit back and watch residents who live in counties under Stay at Home orders get sick because local leaders cannot see the risks of #COVID19 and push to reopen prematurely,” Wolf saidRead More From Source