Trump: People in Pennsylvania 'want their freedom now,' but Democrats delay reopening to hurt him

·Senior Writer

President Trump on Monday accused Democratic governors without evidence of moving to reopen their states too slowly amid the coronavirus pandemic to hurt his chances of reelection.

In a tweet, Trump singled out the battleground state of Pennsylvania, where officials in four counties are threatening to defy Gov. Tom Wolf’s stay-at-home order, which was extended for most of the state through June 4.

“The great people of Pennsylvania want their freedom now, and they are fully aware of what that entails,” the president tweeted. “The Democrats are moving slowly, all over the USA, for political purposes. They would wait until November 3rd if it were up to them. Don’t play politics. Be safe, move quickly!”

Trump talks to reporters in the Oval Office on May 6. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Trump talks to reporters in the Oval Office on May 6. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

There have been more than 1.3 million confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States and over 79,000 deaths — far more than in any other country in the world.

Pennsylvania has reported nearly 60,000 coronavirus cases and more than 3,700 deaths.

In a radio interview Monday, Wolf threatened to sanction county officials who defy his orders.

“These folks are choosing to desert in the face of the enemy, in the middle of a war we Pennsylvanians are winning,” Wolf said. “They need to understand the consequences of their cowardly act.”

While Trump says states with Democratic governors are moving “too slowly” to lift lockdowns and other measures to slow the spread of the virus, most Americans disagree.

A recent Yahoo News/YouGov poll found 59 percent of Americans believe states such as Georgia, Florida, Minnesota and Texas are “moving too fast” to reopen, while only 33 percent say the pace is “about right.” Just 8 percent say it’s “too slow.”

Public health experts, including members of the White House coronavirus task force, have warned that reopening too soon could lead to more death and economic damage.

Trump has acknowledged that “there will be more death” as states move to relax their stay-at-home mandates in the coming months.

“It’s possible there will be some because you won’t be locked into an apartment or a house or whatever it is,” Trump told ABC News while visiting a mask-making factory in Phoenix last week. “But at the same time, we’re going to practice social distancing, we’re going to be washing hands, we’re going to be doing a lot of the things that we’ve learned to do over the last period of time.”

While blaming Democrats for wanting to prolong the recession to make him look bad, he has also accused Democrats of wanting more Americans to die, also to make him look bad, a charge that was originally made by his son Donald Jr.

“The House is a bunch of Trump haters,” the president told reporters before departing for Arizona. “They, frankly, want our situation to be unsuccessful, which means death. Which means death.”

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