Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo now back quick opening of economy, conservatives cry foul
Conservative websites were quick to point out that the Democratic leaders started to take a 180-degree turn in their stance surrounding lockdowns since the presidential election got over
Not many months ago, outgoing President Donald Trump found himself at odds with Democratic leaders across states in the country over reopening the economy in times of the Covid-19 pandemic. The president had serious clashes with Democratic governors, mayors and other leaders as he insisted on opening the country even as the virus wreaked havoc and nearly 400,000 lives have been lost in the US alone.
But it seems with the changing political environment in the power corridors of Washington, the blue party leaders’ stances on opening the economy have also started taking a U-turn. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is an example.
The 58-year-old Democratic mayor had always differed with Trump on reopening the economy (besides the race riots) fearing the pandemic effect turning worse in the city. Even as recently as in mid-November when the US was preparing for the Thanksgiving ceremony, Chicago issued a new stay-at-home advisory banning travel and celebrations and Lightfoot said people must follow the advisory even if they were feeling tired with the shutdown for their own sake.
Speaking to CNBC in November, the Democrat was less clear on how the economic toll of the pandemic could be handled with such a new restriction advisory but pointed out they were looking forward to the incoming Joe Biden administration to help the business ventures that have been devastated by the pandemic.
On Thursday, January 14, Lightfoot said restaurants and bars in Chicago needed to be reopened “as quickly as possible” not only to help those businesses to live another day but also to curb instances of private parties where people ignore taking proper precautions against the pandemic.
Under Illinois’s virus mitigation plan, Chicago’s bars and restaurants were forced to stop indoor services in late October last year. Governor JB Pritzker has said that some regions of the state could start rolling back some of the Covid-19 restrictions from Friday, January 15, if they countered certain virus thresholds. Reopening indoor dining will not happen till all the regions move back at least three more phases, CBS 2 Chicago reported.
On Thursday morning, Lightfoot said she planned to speak with Pritzker, also a Democrat, about starting to roll back the virus mitigation efforts as quickly as possible. “I want to get our restaurants and bars reopened as quickly as possible,” she said. According to Lightfoot, by opening bars and restaurants, it will be easier to enforce the precautions since the business owners will maintain safety precautions at those places, unlike in private parties where people are less careful about the safety concerns.
“If we have people and give them an outlet for entertainment in the restaurant space, in the bar space, we have much more of an opportunity, in my view, to be able to regulate and control that environment,” Lightfoot was quoted as saying by the CBS affiliate news. “People are engaging in risky behavior that is not only putting themselves at risk, but putting their families, their co-workers, and other ones at risk. Let’s bring it out of the shadows. Let’s allow them to have some recreation in restaurants, in bars, where we can actually work with responsible owners and managers to regulate and protect people from COVID-19.”
Cuomo also wants reopening of restaurants
Lightfoot is not the only Democrat who is backing reopening of the economy now. NBC New York reported on Wednesday, January 13, that state Governor Andrew Cuomo, who had a major confrontation with Trump over the handling of the coronavirus pandemic last year, said he too wanted reopening of restaurants, theatres and offices by starting rapid testing sites in the Big Apple and other city centers throughout the state. Last April, Trump and Cuomo locked horns over who has more power to decide on reopening the economy. After the president said he had “absolute” power on this, Cuomo said it would challenge it in the court if required. New York is the worst affected state in the US with more than 40,000 people dying from the virus.
Conservative websites were quick to point out that the Democratic leaders started to take a 180-degree turn over lockdowns since the presidential election has got over. BizPac Review said in an article on Friday that “Lightfoot is helping lead the parade of Democrats suddenly switching their tune, and is now calling on restaurants and bars to be allowed to reopen “as quickly as possible”.”
The report cited the CBS affiliate news that mentioned Lightfoot opining that the restaurant industry is “highly regulated” and would be “one of the safer places” for people to visit as restrictions imposed by the state began to ease.
“They’ve gone above and beyond to put in mitigation controls inside of the restaurants,” Lightfoot said. “I feel very strongly that we are very close to a point when we should be talking about opening up our bars and restaurants.”
Conservatives question the timing of 'change of heart'
The Conservatives found it to be an act of duplicity. Matt Walsh, a conservative blogger, said in a tweet that change of heart witnessed in Lightfoot and Cuomo just a week before Joe Biden’s inauguration as the next president of the US suggested that the timing was coincidental.
A week before Biden's inauguration and a study is released announcing that lockdowns don't work, Cuomo comes out and says that New York can't stay closed, and the mayor of Chicago is urging restaurants to open ASAP. We are supposed to believe that the timing is coincidental.— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) January 15, 2021
Chef and television personality Andrew Gruel also pointed out the fact to tweet: “Wait, I said this 8 weeks ago and was vilified, had facebook groups set up to attack me, got harassing emails and anonymous hate mail.”
Wait, I said this 8 weeks ago and was vilified, had facebook groups set up to attack me, got harassing emails and anonymous hate mail. https://t.co/MGIOeom2EA— Chef Andrew Gruel (@ChefGruel) January 14, 2021
Conservative commentator Katie Pavlich also slammed the change of stance shown by Lightfoot to say in a tweet: “Wow, amazing how the mayors of America’s largest cities are advocating for reopening the week before the Biden administration takes hold.”
Wow, amazing how the mayors of America’s largest cities are advocating for reopening the week before the Biden administration takes hold. https://t.co/eeHsWB5a8R— Katie Pavlich (@KatiePavlich) January 14, 2021
Noah Rothman, also a conservative editor, commentator and author, tweeted slamming Lightfoot: “Major metro mayors are on a mission to retroactively validate everything lockdown skeptics have said for months only to have their motives questioned and characters impugned.”
Major metro mayors are on a mission to retroactively validate everything lockdown skeptics have said for months only to have their motives questioned and characters impugned. https://t.co/q8w9UkzzDo— Noah Rothman (@NoahCRothman) January 14, 2021
“Inauguration Day is right around the corner,” tweeted Journalist Joe Concha.
Inauguration Day is right around the corner... https://t.co/MYZZmMbwY0— Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) January 14, 2021