Democrats fired the opening salvo Friday against Vice President Mike Pence’s campaign rally Saturday at Reading Regional Airport.
The Pennsylvania Democratic Party held a virtual press conference to criticize Pence’s visit and the Trump administration.
“The Trump administration, Vice President Mike Pence, is once again coming to Pennsylvania and not paying attention to what is best for the health interests of Pennsylvanians,” said Sen. Sharif Street, of Philadelphia and vice chairman of the state Democratic Party. “They are going to have an event that will probably result in additional and enhanced COVID spread.”
Sen. Judy Schwank of Ruscombmanor Township said it was great Pence was flying into Reading Regional Airport but thought he should alter his plans slightly.
“I think it’s great the vice president is landing at the airport,” she said. “I have a suggestion, why not go three miles south, head into the city and see what’s happening in the city.
“At the airport he’ll be surrounded by lots of cheering supporters, but to see what’s happening on the ground is what’s missing. They simply have no empathy what is happening to many, many people in our society, particularly in the district that I represent.”
Schwank said the Trump administration has failed on multiple levels, including its response to the coronavirus pandemic and trade policies.
“Forty percent of farm income is now dependent on government aid,” she said. “That’s because of trade policies and making enemies of some of our trading partners knowing it would impact the income of farmers throughout this country.
“This administration loves tariffs, but when you implement tariffs, those countries we had been exporting food to are going to retaliate against us.”
Berks Democratic Committee Chairman Kevin Boughter, who has worked in a manufacturing job for over 40 years, said he considers himself a common man.
“I get to hear every day from common workers from different communities, different races,” he said. “The word is they all want the same thing. They want to be able to have a job that can sustain a family. They want health care that they know will pay the bills, and they want to know that the school they are sending their children to will get the job done for them.”
That’s not happening under the Trump administration, he said.
“It’s going backwards,” Boughter said. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the president say ‘I’m going to roll out our health care plan in two weeks. I’ve lost count of how many two weeks ago it’s been. It goes to prove this administration has no plan to do anything for the people.”
U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan said she found it absurd that the Trump administration is showing up a few weeks from the election.
“The Trump administration is showing up in the city of Reading after almost four years of neglect and destruction the administration has leveled on cities like Reading,” she said.
Houlahan said the administration failed at managing the pandemic and is trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act when the pandemic hit impoverished and communities of color the hardest, like Reading.
“The irony of the vice president showing up in that community having been so irresponsible to that community in the area of health care pre-pandemic and during the pandemic is not lost on me,” she said.
“I’m frustrated Vice President Pence and this administration feel this is a place to park their campaign,” Houlahan added.