WASHINGTON — Pennsylvania House Speaker Mike Turzai has made a habit of misleading his constituents about the severity of the coronavirus pandemic, as he and his partisan allies continue to recklessly challenge Governor Tom Wolf’s public health orders.
In a recent video, Turzai falsely claimed it would be safe for children to return to schools, even though the science about the pandemic’s impact on children isn’t settled, and health experts are still rushing to understand an alarming syndrome harming children across the country and in Europe. The Philadelphia Inquirer called out Speaker Turzai’s lies and rated the statement false.
“It’s disturbing that a member of Republican leadership would knowingly ignore medical advice and mislead his constituents,” said Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee President Jessica Post. “The only way for us to move past this crisis is to listen to the experts. Spreading dangerous misinformation is counterproductive and irresponsible.”
This isn’t the first time the Pennsylvania Republican has sought to minimize the devastation of the pandemic. Over the weekend, Turzai emphasized that many of the Pennyslvanians who died were elderly or had preexisting conditions, a move that a Philadelphia Inquirer columnist called “straight-outta-Nuremberg eugenics-type stuff.”
The GOP’s tone deaf approach to the pandemic comes as Republicans increasingly defy the necessary public health measures to overcome the crisis. And while right-wing forces pretend otherwise, Pennsylvania voters overwhelmingly approve of Governor Wolf’s performance during the crisis and remain wary of moving too quickly to resume normal life.
There is a silver lining for Speaker Turzai though — since he isn’t running for reelection this year, he doesn’t have to worry about defending reckless policies that put Pennsylvanians at risk.