Morris County Democratic Chairman Chip Robinson hit State Sen. Joe Pennacchio over an appearance the senator made at a Memorial Day political rally urging the state’s reopening.
“On what should be a day where we honor our fallen from wartime, and on a day when we should be remembering the nearly 100,000 who have died from the recent pandemic, including more than 10,000 in New Jersey, State Senator Pennachio was leading a partisan political rally against our Governor,” Robinson said. “At the rally, some alleged that the 100,000 dead are “fake news” and that the numbers are overinflated.”
Over the past weeks, Gov. Phil Murphy has move to reopen some businesses that had been forced closed by executive orders meant to slow the spread of COVID-19, but the governor’s still somewhat limited steps haven’t been enough for the loudest voices.
Pennacchio, who is an honorary chairman of President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, has closely followed Trump’s line on the virus.
He backed hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug that was once considered a possible treatment for the novel coronavirus, when Trump did, and he’s joined Trump in calling for swift reopenings.
Though Murphy has continued to lift restrictions — on Tuesday he announced the state would allow outdoor graduation ceremonies — he’s moved more slowly than anti-lockdown protestors want, though polls suggest most New Jerseyans back the governor’s response.
“We absolutely must have a robust system of testing, contacting tracing the contacts of those who have test positive, with isolation and treatment for those with the disease,” Robinson said. “That’s what the epidemiologists and scientists tell us. It is clear that opening it up and pretending we are back to normal without the appropriate measures in place is a recipe for mass spread of the virus and sadly mass death.”