Tom Wolf pulled out his big book of names today and started slapping them on the “local politicians” and “businesses” in Schuylkill County.
Now, he didn’t label everyone “cowardly” or “immoral”. Just the ones who choose, on May 15, to defy his orders and re-open their business as Schuylkill County chooses to move to the Yellow phase of coronavirus reopening.
The Riot Act of 2020
PA Governor Tom Wolf Calls Schuylkill County Politicians, Businesses “Cowardly” and “Immoral”
A fuming Wolf got in front of a camera at an undisclosed location today, presumably in or near Harrisburg. And after he removed his face mask and ceremonially pumped some hand sanitizer into his palm, he began reading us all the Riot Act of 2020.
In sharp remarks, Wolf criticized the decision by numerous counties across Pennsylvania to go their own way on a coronavirus reopening plan. Schuylkill County is among those counties. On Saturday, the County Commissioners along with State Sen. Dave Argall and State Reps. Jerry Knowles and Mike Tobash, sent a letter to Wolf saying we’re going to the Yellow phase on Friday with or without his approval.
Wolf did not take the move well. We wondered what he’d do to counter the decisions made locally across Pennsylvania. And on Monday, we found out.
He decided to throw a temper tantrum for the whole world to see.
Wolf Calls Us Surrendering Deserters
Using a war metaphor to describe our approach to dealing with the Chinese virus, Wolf decided to start with the name-calling.
He said, “Over this past weekend, some have decided to surrender to this enemy. These are politicians who were elected to serve their fellow citizens. Others are business owners who have chosen to serve their customers by putting them in harm’s way. These folks are choosing to desert in the face of the enemy. This is not the time to give up.”
Wolf Calls Us Cowardly, Caving to Coronavirus
The governor called us more names, too.
As he prattled on, Wolf said, “To those politicians who decide to cave in to this coronavirus, they need to understand the consequences of their cowardly act.”
Later in the press conference, he said, reiterating how big our cowardice is, “The politicians encouraging the people they were elected to lead to quit the fight are acting in a most cowardly way. This is not the time to give up. This is not the time to surrender.”
Again, we’re not sure but nowhere in the letters we sent to Wolf did anyone say anything about surrendering. By going to the Yellow phase of the governor’s reopening plan, Schuylkill County business owners agree to abide by CDC regulations that promote social distancing and crowd sizes.
That’s not surrendering.
What we’re not agreeing to do is surrender to Wolf’s arbitrary metrics used to determine who reopens and when.
But we never said or indicated we’re surrendering or giving up whatever he thinks we’re caving or fighting against.
And Then There Were the Threats
Now, Wolf’s ranting and raving also included some threats. One of the big ones was his threat to withhold funding the federal government might give Pennsylvania for costs dealing with the virus.
If you’ve been paying the least bit of attention locally (or have driven on any of our state roads), you know these are hollow threats. It’s not like much of this so-called money would have ever made it to Schuylkill County. Still, he was addressing more than just us today, but he spat out the following threats:
“The funding we have put aside to help with fighting this crisis will go to the folks who are doing their part. And that includes our CARES Act funding, which will be used to support counties that are following the orders to prevent the spread and the medical communities who are treating patients. However, other discretionary funding won’t go to counties that put us all at risk by operating illegally.”
He also threatened business owners and the politicians he believes are misleading them. Wolf made it sound like these businesses and politicians were somehow posing a threat to the lives of all Pennsylvanians. Panic porn is really hot right now, so he played into it.
More Name Calling
He said, “To the politicians urging businesses to risk their lives and to risk the lives of their customers or their employees by opening prematurely, they need to understand that they are engaging in behavior that is both selfish and unsafe.”
Then he tried to speak on the level with business owners whom he’d just called selfish and unsafe, cowardly, and weak for “surrendering” to the virus. In doing so, he threatened their ability to do business, in some cases, where licenses are required.
“You business owners: these politicians put you at risk of losing your Health Dept. certificate. They put you business owners at risk of losing your liquor license. They put you business owners at risk of losing your Certificate of Occupancy. All these depend on you doing everything you can to keep your patrons safe,” Wolf said.
But he wasn’t done. He took the Liberal High Road and cast business owners who dare oppose his knowledge of the coronavirus or criticize his sloppy handling of the pandemic response as immoral.
“By opening before the evidence suggests you should, you’re taking undue risks with the safety of your customers. That’s not only morally wrong. That’s also really bad business,” the governor continued.
Not Done With Threats
Wolf didn’t stop with the threats. He said, “Businesses that do follow the whims of local politicians and ignore the law and the welfare of their customers will probably find themselves uninsured because insurance does not cover things that happen to businesses breaking the law.”
Now, let’s ignore the fact that he’s saying, ignore local politicians and their “whims” but follow him and do as he says, even though Wolf and his entire administration have clearly been acting on a whim from the very beginning.
Wolf even directed the state’s Insurance Commissioner and lead Karen of the day, Jessica Altman, to issue this statement to back him up on the insurance threat. She said from her moral high ground, “It is the duty of every business and resident in Pennsylvania to ensure that they and the public at large are provided with the maximum level of protection afforded by insurance. Any actions that could potentially create coverage gaps are the antitheses of the civil duty required of all residents during these times of emergency.”
Watch the Tom Wolf Riot Act of 2020
Here’s the full video of the Tom Wolf press conference from May 11.
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