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Somerset County Democratic Chair Peg Schaffer. (Photo: courtesy of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee)

Schaffer: ‘Unfathomably selfish’ for Trump to hold fundraiser after virus exposure

Somerset Dem chair demands Republican freeholders, surrogate say if they were at Bedminster Thursday

By Nikita Biryukov, October 02 2020 10:19 am

Somerset County Democratic Chairwoman Peg Schaffer slammed President Donald Trump over the laxness of his virus precautions, charging he endangered the county’s residents when he showed up for a fundraiser at his golf club in Bedminster.

“This morning, we wake up to learn that Trump was infected with COVID-19 while glad-handing his supporters in Bedminster,” Schaffer said. “While this is completely irresponsible behavior for anyone, for the President of the United States to risk the health and lives of his own supporters, their families, their neighbors and the workers and wait staff at his club is unfathomably selfish.”

Trump and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for the virus early Friday morning after Hope Hicks, one of Trump’s closest advisors, returned a positive test Thursday.

Hicks frequently travels with Trump aboard Air Force One, as she did this week, including to a rally in Minnesota Wednesday.

The Democratic chairwoman also wants to know whether any of the three Republicans holding countywide office in Somerset attended the Bedminster fundraiser.

“We also call on Brian Levine, Brian Gallagher and Frank Bruno to publicly state whether they attended the fundraiser, and to self-isolate and campaign only virtually until it is determined if they contracted COVID,” she said. “With only 32 days left until the election, it is irresponsible for elected officials who are asking for another term not to be transparent with the public about this situation.”

Levine and Gallagher are the county’s last two Republican freeholders. Bruno is the county surrogate.

The president’s diagnosis may prove a political bane for New Jersey Republicans, many of whom have spent months calling for Gov. Phil Murphy to ease virus restrictions imposed on businesses and residents.

“I know several people who have passed from COVID-19, and even more who have suffered from this disease. It is no joke. It is not fake news,” said Schaffer, who is Democratic state vice chairwoman. “It has disrupted our society, our economy, and our politics,” Schaffer said. “And it’s about time the Republican Party started taking it seriously. If the President himself contracting COVID doesn’t do it, nothing will.”

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