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In an op-ed for Truthout, Senior editor William R. Pitt accuses Republican leaders in America of hypocrisy for pushing schools to reopen in the fall despite themselves declining to attend the Republican National Convention due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • The New York Times reports that eleven Republican lawmakers from both the House and Senate have confirmed to the Times that they do not plan to attend the National Convention. A few others have not confirmed either their attendance or absence.
  • Representative Darin LaHood of Illinois, an honorary state co-chairman for the Trump campaign, said simply, “Everybody just assumes no one is going.”
  • Truthout notes that this is likely because “COVID-19 is raging out of control in the South and West, and still lurks virtually everywhere else.”
  • Exacerbating this, the convention is to be held in Florida, which is among the “hottest COVID hotspots on the face of the earth… Spending four days in close quarters under these circumstances would be perilous in the extreme.”
  • Despite these concerns pushing lawmakers away from the convention, Republican leaders continue to “want to send your kids back to 180 days of close quarters in school buildings all across the country,” Pitt asserts.
  • He adds that such lawmakers have not provided schools with funds to help prepare personnel, supplies, and procedures for this undertaking.
  • Pitt also notes that there is still no national testing or contact tracing program in place.
  • And the nation is in the midst of a “COVID firestorm… that threatens to get worse.”

Pitt cites the Associated Press via the Boston Globe, noting that although Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos claims there is no danger “in any way” if children go to school in-person, full-time in the fall,

Her statement is unsupported. Some children have become seriously ill from the virus, and one of Trump’s top health experts stresses that data remain[s] incomplete about potential risks they could spread COVID-19 to adults.

Pitt also quotes from Washington Nationals pitcher Sean Doolittle, whose comments to the Minneapolis Star Tribune about sports “may as well have been… about reopening schools, and indeed the entire country.”

We haven’t done any of the things that other countries have done to bring sports back. Sports are like the reward of a functional society, and we’re trying to just bring it back, even though we’ve taken none of the steps to flatten the curve, whatever you want to say.

Pitt closes with this grim accusation:

GOP Senators Roy Blount and Pat Roberts are too precious to expose themselves to the virus. The children? Not so much.

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