By Melanie Zanona, CNN
The House Democrats’ campaign arm is amplifying their warnings that the GOP’s dangerous rhetoric and misinformation about Covid-19 is threatening to harm public health and thwart economic progress — a preview of how Democrats on the campaign trail plan to address a crisis that is still consuming both the country and Joe Biden’s presidency.
In a new memo that began circulating on Thursday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee writes that House Republicans have “lied about (Covid’s) impact,” “dangerously rejected medical guidance to wear masks and social distance,” and “encouraged Americans to consume horse and cattle dewormer in lieu of the proven COVID-19 vaccine,” according to a copy of the memo obtained by CNN.
The document specifically calls out rhetoric from conservative hardliners such as Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina and Louie Gohmert of Texas, as well as Republicans in key wing districts, including Reps. Claudia Tenney of New York, Yvette Herrell of New Mexico and Nicole Malliotakis of New York.
By contrast, “Biden and House Democrats have rushed to get Americans back to work and crush the COVID-19 virus and rebuild our economy with the American Rescue Plan,” the memo continues. “We’ve added 4.5 million new jobs since January 2021, returning the nation’s economy to pre-pandemic levels and put more than 374 million shots in arms. But House Republicans are threatening our economic progress by doubling down on their deadly lies.”
In a statement to CNN, DCCC Chairman Sean Patrick Maloney of New York echoed a similar sentiment, blaming “Republicans’ recklessness” for fueling the spike in coronavirus cases and uptick in hospitalizations.
“From day one of this pandemic, Republicans have rejected reality and embraced political extremism by lying about the effectiveness of vaccines, mask wearing and social distancing,” Maloney said. “Even as school children fill up ICU beds across the country, they’ve taken to social media and conservative media outlets to whip up dangerous conspiracies, including peddling horse dewormer as a COVID treatment.”
The memo comes as Biden is set to give a speech on Thursday outlining the next phase of his administration’s effort to fight the virus. While Biden declared independence from Covid-19 in the beginning of July, vaccine hesitancy has allowed the Delta variant to spread and ravage communities, posing a new set of challenges for the administration. Biden has also seen his approval ratings dip to new lows following the chaotic exit from Afghanistan and the continued public health crisis.
Meanwhile, House Democrats are back in their districts for the recess break and have been encouraged to sell the public on Biden’s economic agenda — including the coronavirus aid package and other benefits that have already been passed.
House Republicans, however, are betting that there will be backlash to mask and vaccine mandates, and are hoping to use the fears and frustrations of Americans worried about another round of school closures and lockdowns as cudgels against their Democratic opponents in the battle for the House.
“Democrats ran an entire campaign dishonestly promising that they alone could fix a once-in-a-generation pandemic. Now that they’ve completely failed and their poll numbers are tanking, they are desperate to shift blame,” Michael McAdams, National Republican Congressional Committee communications director, said in a statement. “Voters aren’t going to buy their excuses for a second.”
But Democrats are warning that putting Republicans back in power would have disastrous consequences for public health.
“House Republicans’ Extremist Ringleaders Kevin McCarthy and Tom Emmer have a moronic proposal for the American people; hand them control of Congress next November and usher in their clan of dangerous extremists,” the DCCC memo states. “The American people simply can’t afford to give extremist House Republicans control of Congress.”
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