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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., went off on a rant Tuesday in which she told economic shutdown protesters they were petitioning the wrong government officials, and should tell President Trump to “make some damn tests” for the coronavirus.
“If you want your freedom, if you want to end the shutdown, then tell your president to make some damn tests and to support some state governments,” the freshman congresswoman said during an Instagram Live session.
“This is outrageous,” she added. “So, if you want to make sure that we reopen the economy, why don’t you turn around, march on over to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and protest this president who’s not supporting our governors and making sure that we get the tests, the medical equipment, the hospital funding, and the state and local funding, so that we can all get on with our lives.”
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Katrina Pierson, a top advisor to the Trump campaign, tweeted on Wednesday in response to Ocasio-Cortez: “Did she just return from Wuhan? Because, this is Bats–t.”
As the country grapples with massive job losses induced by the restrictions, rallies have taken place in several major states with some attendees wearing “Make America Great Again” hats and waving Trump flags.
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Public health experts have warned that an easing of the shutdowns must be accompanied by wider testing and tracing of infected people to keep the virus from coming back with a vengeance. President Trump has maintained, however, that the solution to the coronavirus could be worse than the problem itself. On Friday, via Twitter, he urged state governments to “liberate” their people from restrictions that have impacted economic activity.
While it’s unclear what the full economic impact will be, at least 22 million people — more than 13 percent of the workforce — have filed unemployment claims in recent weeks. Ocasio-Cortez and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., have pushed for relief beyond what Congress initially proposed.
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Last week, the president rolled out a series of guidelines intended to help states reopen their economies after weeks of social distancing and other precautions. He also targeted Democratic leaders for initially refusing to pass a stimulus package providing relief to American workers during the pandemic.
For example, the Trump campaign recently released an ad in which it depicted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as elitist and out-of-touch for opposing coronavirus relief while discussing her ice cream during a late night interview.
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Democrats, meanwhile, have accused the administration of not taking the pandemic seriously and waiting for too long before responding.
Pelosi, in particular, told her caucus on Monday that it was “almost sinful” the way Trump failed to deliver on his promise for widespread testing, according to Politico. She also told CNN that Trump’s “denial at the beginning” and delayed response was “deadly.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.