Louisiana Republicans Disagree with President’s Plan to Reopen State Economy; Trump Praises Governor Edwards

Photo courtesy of YouTube

On April 28, 2020, the Bayou Brief received an internal memo from Louisiana GOP political operative Jay Connaughton, addressed to Republican state Sen. Sharon Hewitt of Slidell, which was shared with other Louisiana Republican legislators. The
memo outlined a series of talking points aimed at undermining Governor John Bel Edwards emergency orders to shut the state economy down in an effort to mitigate the damage caused by the Coronavirus. Interestingly, the memo contained a list of keywords to avoid such as political hoax, politics, models, deaths and spike. It appears the GOP state legislators were carefully crafting a propaganda message to their constituents, avoiding any meaningful words that would imply careful consideration for science, facts, data, models and public health. 

The memo comes on the heels of Republican voters and political leaders calling on Governor John Bel Edwards to reopen the economy on May 1. Louisiana GOP Congressman Clay Higgins went as far as saying “America is going to force the government to open” if the states don’t allow businesses to reopen. Louisiana GOP Senator John Kennedy went on national TV days earlier suggesting that reopening the economy is worth risking lives. And more recently, on Wednesday, Republican state Rep. Alan Seabaugh shared a draft petition, citing an obscure state law that would allow a majority of either the state House or Senate to end the governor’s stay-at-home emergency declaration. In his Friday press conference, the Gov. Edwards dismissed the petition, saying “silly would not be the right word.”

Ironically, GOP talking points that liken the state’s shutdown to a form of martial law directly contradict President Trump’s federal criteria for states to allow businesses to enter phase one of reopening.  It’s no secret that Republican lawmakers at the state and federal level have been sycophants for all of President Trump’s policy positions, but when it comes to preserving our public health amidst a global pandemic, Republicans are supporting armed protestors threatening the use of force to demand governors across the country to reopen.

While Republicans have been actively fighting the President’s position on reopening the economy, Governor John Bel Edwards, on the other hand, has been working diplomatically with President Trump to discuss plans on transitioning to phase one of reopening on May 15. Specifically, Louisiana legislators have accused the governor of inflicting damage to the state economy by not taking a regional approach to reopening. However, a regional approach to reopening is not part of the criteria to reopen Louisiana’s economy.

Despite the criticism from Republicans, Edwards received praise from the President regarding the job he’s done handling the state’s pandemic response. At a meeting with Governor Edwards on April 29, the President told Governor Edwards “I just want to congratulate you.” The governor maintains that the state still ranks fifth in number of positive cases on a per capita basis, and has not yet seen a sustainable decline in the growth in new cases and the downward trajectory needed over a 14 day period to enter phase one.

According to President Trump’s approved federal guidelines that would allow the state to reopen its economy, there must be a downward trajectory of influenza-like illnesses and Covid-like syndromic cases reported within a 14-day period.  There must be a downward trajectory of documented cases and positive tests as a percent of total tests within a 14-day period. Finally health care workers must be able to treat all patients with crisis care and testing must be adequately available for at-risk healthcare workers, including emerging antibody testing.

At a time when the most deadly and contagious virus over the last century threatens our livelihoods, Republican state lawmakers and our Republican Congressmen are playing a dangerous political game that continues to undermine our public health agencies, experts, and our Governor. While Governor John Bel Edwards and the President have worked together in a spirit of bipartisanship to ensure states like our own are able to safely begin to reopen, Republican legislators are using political tactics to drive a wedge between us during the most deadly pandemic of our century. 


Help Keep Big Easy Magazine Alive

Hey guys!

Covid-19 is challenging the way we conduct business. As small businesses suffer economic losses, they aren’t able to spend money advertising.

Please donate today to help us sustain local independent journalism and allow us to continue to offer subscription-free coverage of progressive issues.

Thank you,
Scott Ploof
Big Easy Magazine

Share this Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *