Republicans keep attacking their opponents for following social distancing rules


Joni Ernst is mad that her Democratic opponent posted a selfie with her dog.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across America, Republican politicians are attacking their Democratic opponents for taking steps to prevent transmission of the coronavirus, notably for social distancing.

On Wednesday, Sen. Joni Ernst accused her Democratic opponent in her race for reelection in Iowa, real estate executive Theresa Greenfield, of "hiding" from voters.

"We can't pin her down. She's hiding in her basement. You know?" Ernst charged during a campaign call with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

"While I'm out there talking to folks about these Paycheck Protection Program opportunities, when I'm talking to them about supports needed in our rural health care system, when I'm talking about supports necessary for child care so that moms and dads can get back to work, she's been hiding in her basement taking selfies with her dog Ringo," Ernst complained, adding, "The times are tough right now, and it takes a tough leader out there, leading from the front, not hiding in a basement."

Ernst is not alone in blasting her opponent for social distancing.

Earlier this month, Sen. Susan Collins launched an ad dishonestly attacking her Democratic opponent, Maine state House Speaker Sara Gideon, of dereliction of duty. Her reasoning: The state legislature had adjourned a few weeks earlier than usual, in March, as the pandemic was beginning.

"Sara Gideon shut down the Maine legislature for four months and counting, more than 120 days. Gideon does nothing even as other state legislatures continued to operate," the ad claimed — ignoring that the legislative session was required by statute to end in mid-April. "Susan Collins has never missed a vote. Sara Gideon never even shows up."

Last month, Donald Trump's campaign posted on its website a story under the heading "Holed up in his basement bunker, Joe Biden hides behind dishonest TV ads." It complained that "Joe Biden's handlers are keeping him hidden in his basement, as far away from reporters' questions as possible."

Trump supporters like House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, and Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel have also attacked Biden for campaigning from his basement.

And in late April, Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama claimed that by temporarily allowing proxy voting in the House of Representatives to curb the spread of the coronavirus, Democrats were scheming to get paid without working. "Dems give #SpeakerPelosi their proxy, who then casts their votes," he tweeted. "Dems GET PAID IN FULL without showing up for work at Capitol Hill."

Meanwhile, lawmakers in state legislatures and Congress who are showing up to work are contracting and possibly spreading the coronavirus.

This month, dozens of Mississippi state representatives who refused to wear masks tested positive for the coronavirus. And on Wednesday, Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-TX) informed his staff in person that he had the virus. At least eight other members of Congress have also tested positive.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.