Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

'How Dare You Put Our Lives at Risk': Pennsylvania Democrat Brian Sims Rips GOP Members for 'Coverup' of Positive COVID-19 Tests

Politics
Brian Sims ranted in a Facebook Live video that went viral about the hypocrisy of Republican lawmakers who are pushing to reopen the state even though one of their members had a positive COVID-19 test. Brian Sims / Facebook

Brian Sims, a Democratic representative in the Pennsylvania legislature, ranted in a Facebook Live video that went viral about the hypocrisy of Republican lawmakers who are pushing to reopen the state even though one of their members had a positive COVID-19 test.


Sims, the first openly gay person elected to the Pennsylvania legislature, raged against the callousness of Republican members of the state House who control the legislature and demanded in-person committee meetings in Harrisburg to argue that businesses should reopen even though they knew they had been exposed to the virus.

Sims notes that the Republicans did not let the Democrats know that they had been exposed to the virus, arguing that such a revelation would hurt their argument to reopen the state.

The issue at hand is that Republicans have been arguing to reopen businesses in Pennsylvania and reopen the state legislature while knowing that Republican representative Andrew Lewis had tested positive for COVID-19. Lewis posted a Facebook Live video as well, saying that he did not share his diagnosis because he wanted to protect his family's privacy and the people around him.

"Out of respect for my family, and those who I may have exposed, I chose to keep my positive case private," Lewis said in a statement, as NBC News reported.

Lewis said he tested positive on May 20 and quickly informed health officials and the people he was in contact with when he was last at the capital on May 14.

That did not sit well with Sims, who said he donated a kidney recently to one of his neighbors who was suffering renal failure.

"I didn't donate my kidney to save someone else's life so I could die at the hands of Republicans who are being callous liars," Sims said in his 12-minute tirade.

He was particularly stung that the Republicans had kept the revelation of the diagnosis to only their members.

"Every single day of this crisis this State Government Committee in Pennsylvania has met so that their members could line up one after one after one and explain that it was safe to go back to work," said Sims. "During that time period they were testing positive. They were notifying one another.

"And they didn't notify us. I never ever, ever knew that the Republican leadership of this state would put so many of us at risk for partisanship to cover up a lie. And that lie is that we're all safe from COVID."

As NBC News reported, the state house Democratic Caucus accused Lewis and some of the Republican colleagues who knew about his status of keeping colleagues in the dark.

"While we are pleased to learn that this House member seems to have recovered, it is simply unacceptable that some House Republicans knew about this for more than a week and sat on that knowledge," Democratic Leader Frank Dermody of Allegheny said in a statement Wednesday night.

Sims, on the other hand, believes their actions are worthy of a criminal investigation.

"Any member of leadership that has known what's been going on, any member of Republican leadership that knew that members were testing positive, that other members were being quarantined, and did not tell those of us that were exposed to those members needs to be investigated by the attorney general and I think that there needs to be prosecutions," he said.

He also noted the callousness of the secrecy, considering there are members in the House who have immune-compromised children at home.

"I'm in a building right now surrounded by members who can't go see their kids, that are having to call their husbands, having to call their wives, saying 'honey, I might have exposed you and everyone I love in this world because one of my colleagues tested positive but he was protecting his family and not protecting mine. And Republican leadership protected him,'" said Sims.

"How dare you put our lives at risk, Sims added. "How dare you put our families at risk and pretend it was about looking out for your own."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Japan Self-Defense Forces and police officers join rescue operations at a nursing home following heavy rain in Kuma village, Kumamoto prefecture on July 5, 2020. STR / JIJI PRESS / AFP / Getty Images

Scores of people remained stranded in southern Japan on Sunday after heavy rain the day before caused deep flooding and mudslides that left at least 34 people confirmed or presumed dead.

Read More Show Less

Members of the Pipeline Compliance Surveillance Initiative hiked into the George Washington National Forest to document tree felling for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Ben Cunningham / YouTube

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), which would have carried fracked natural gas through 600 miles of West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina, will never be completed.

Read More Show Less
Activists of Greenpeace and Fridays For Future demonstrate on a canal in front of the cooling tower of the coal-fired power plant Datteln 4 of power supplier Uniper in Datteln, western Germany, on May 20. INA FASSBENDER / AFP / Getty Images

The Bundestag and Bundesrat — Germany's lower and upper houses of parliament — passed legislation on Friday that would phase out coal use in the country in less than two decades as part of a road map to reduce carbon emissions.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

By Tara Lohan

Would you like to take a crack at solving climate change? Or at least creating a road map of how we could do it?

Read More Show Less
Climate campaigners and Indigenous peoples across Canada have spent the past several years protesting the Trans Mountain pipeline. Mark Klotz / Flickr / cc

By Elana Sulakshana

Rainforest Action Network recently uncovered a document that lists the 11 companies that are currently insuring the controversial Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline in Canada. These global insurance giants are providing more than USD$500 million in coverage for the massive risks of the existing Trans Mountain pipeline, and they're also lined up to cover the expansion project.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Leah Campbell

After several months of stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many households are beginning to experience family burnout from spending so much time together.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Food Tank

By Danielle Nierenberg and Alonso Diaz

With record high unemployment, a reeling global economy, and concerns of food shortages, the world as we know it is changing. But even as these shifts expose inequities in the health and food systems, many experts hope that the current moment offers an opportunity to build a new and more sustainable food system.

Read More Show Less