September 2, 2020 Media

The Minnesota GOP’s Maskless Campaigning Puts Lives At Risk

Today, DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin held a press conference to criticize the Minnesota Republican Party and the Trump campaign for putting people’s lives at risk by holding events indoors, in close quarters, with few if any masks (examples are presented starting at 4:30 into the press conference). 

A video of the press can be viewed here and downloaded here

A copy of the slide show from the press conference can be found here.

The Minnesota GOP and Trump campaign even embarked on a tour of the state of Minnesota, which risked exposing Minnesotans to a deadly pandemic that has killed over 180,000 Americans and whose infection rates are growing here in Minnesota. Here’s what today’s speakers said:

“The plain truth here is that Minnesota Republicans and the Trump campaign are putting people’s lives at risk to win political campaigns,” said DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin. “The Minnesota Republican Party’s unsafe events could be spreading COVID-19 across our state, landing people in the hospital, and even killing them. If Minnesota Republican events have not caused serious harm, it is only because their fellow Minnesotans are taking this threat seriously and making the sacrifices necessary to save lives.”

“This is the perfect storm of everything people shouldn’t do: going from place to place with no knowledge of whether or not you’re sick and meeting with people,” said Andy Slavitt, former Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “Many of them as you can see are not young, many of them are vulnerable, but there’s no way for people to know who’s vulnerable and who’s not and then.”

“To me, people’s lives are more important to people’s votes,” added Slavitt. “I think I would ask that of your elected representatives in your candidates: is my life more important than putting you in office? And is your behavior at suggesting that? So I just would say to anybody who doesn’t hold that value: it’s not too late to change because people are going to live or die by your decisions.”

“We have seen that places that do have fairly severe outbreaks, when they start to recommend masks, when they introduce mask mandates, they turn the corner,” said Dr. Caitlin Rivers, an epidemiologist and Associate Professor at Johns Hopkins University who appeared in a non-partisan capacity to speak about the science behind masking and COVID-19. “Wearing a mask is important. I think social distancing is important and I would also prioritize outdoor events. I think if you’re able to do all three of those things: masks, social distancing, and outdoors, I think that’s relatively safe and I would feel comfortable in that situation for someone who is not older or someone without underlying health conditions. But indoors, maskless, close-quarters, those are all recipes for transmission”