Taking a page out of the playbook of Trump-hating Democrats, White House adviser Kellyanne Conway pointed to a tweet from New York Mayor Bill de Blasio earlier this month to blame the progressive politician for making his city the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“I’m not playing politics,” Conway told reporters on Thursday, according to the New York Post. “But you have a mayor saying, ‘Look at me, I’m on the subway, go out on the town.’”
“He told people through a tweet on March 2, ‘Go live your lives and go out on the town,’ and then recommended what show everybody go see,” she explained. “So it’s very unfortunate we now have the spread in the whole New York metro area, which as you all know includes many parts of New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania.”
The tweet Conway references is seen here:
Since I’m encouraging New Yorkers to go on with your lives + get out on the town despite Coronavirus, I thought I would offer some suggestions. Here’s the first: thru Thurs 3/5 go see “The Traitor” @FilmLinc. If “The Wire” was a true story + set in Italy, it would be this film.
— Bill de Blasio (@BilldeBlasio) March 3, 2020
For added irony, de Blasio’s recommendation mentioned Italy, which has experienced an epidemic of COVID-19.
“I personally know people who commute from Pennsylvania into New York for work — into New York City for work,” Conway added.
On Wednesday, Conway appeared on Fox News’ “The Story” to accuse de Blasio of “lying to America” about taking the coronavirus crisis seriously from the outset.
“On March 16, he went to a gym, on March 5 he’s taking the subway, telling people — it’s totally irresponsible and it’s the epicenter now,” she said.
“I think it shows you the contrast in leadership,” Conway stressed. “You have feckless leaders or you have a president who’s publicly facing every single day [the outbreak], giving people information and engagement they need.”
Conway said de Blasio should have locked down New York City sooner in the face of the Chinese virus, and suggested that his delay resulted in the coronavirus spreading to neighboring states, to include New Jersey.
The Post cited the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus tracking database to report that of the approximately 75,000 cases in the US, half are in New York, which passed 37,000 cases on Thursday. New Jersey is second with more than 4,400 cases.
De Blasio press secretary Freddi Goldstein responded to Conway’s appearance on Fox News to take a pot shot at Trump for saying he’d like to have the economy reopened by Easter, claiming de Blasio “rose to the seriousness of this crisis [and] made incredibly difficult decisions.”
“On 3/3 we were pre-community spread,” Goldstein tweeted. “We were isolating the few positive cases, tracing their contacts & encouraging anyone w/symptoms to seek help.”
Today: our schools are closed, our restaurants are closed, all non-essential workers are home. That’s because @NYCMayor rose to the seriousness of this crisis & made incredibly difficult decisions. @realDonaldTrump is encouraging people to fill the pews for Easter. 2/3
— Freddi Goldstein (@FreddiGoldstein) March 26, 2020
With New Yorkers fleeing into other states, to include Florida, there’s concern about the spread of coronavirus increasing as a result.
Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the Trump administration’s response, urged anyone who recently visited the metro area to self-quarantine.
“Everybody who was in New York should be self-quarantining for the next 14 days to ensure that the virus doesn’t spread to others,” Birx said Tuesday at a White House press briefing. “No matter where they have gone, whether it’s Florida, North Carolina, or out to far, far reaches of Long Island.”
At a press briefing Wednesday, Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke about “having people be reckless and cause problems for other communities.”
“I think people have realized that the epicenter of this thing has shifted,” DeSantis said. “Now the epicenter worldwide really is New York City. We’re really rooting for New York to get through it. But what’s happened is — and it’s a problem for Florida — once the shelter in place was issued, people started fleeing the city.”
“That makes it much harder to get a grip on this stuff,” he continued. “Don’t defy the directives of your state.”
DeSantis issued an executive order requiring everybody arriving from the New York City area to self-quarantine for 14 days, stating that Florida will have National Guard troops and other health officials at airports screening arriving flights for people from the state.
De Blasio wasn’t the only NY official who was downplaying coronavirus and encouraging New Yorkers to get out and about. Currently, a clip from last month of NYC health commissioner Oxiris Barbot telling people to attend parades is going viral.
As recently as March 3rd, she told New Yorkers to ‘go about their everyday lives.”
As recently as a few weeks ago on March 3, 2020, the @NYCHealthCommr Oxiris Barbot said at a press conference: “We are encouraging New Yorkers to go about their everyday lives.” https://t.co/M2qUkgmkgJ pic.twitter.com/AN3MCfxVFZ
— Andy Ngo (@MrAndyNgo) March 27, 2020
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