After news dropped yesterday that Pennsylvania State House Republican Andrew Lewis tested positive for COVID-19 on May 20, the Democratic members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives made their shock and anger known. The source of their anger was the fact the Republican leadership knew Lewis tested positive but didn’t inform the Democrats. In a statement to PennLive, House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody said:
“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.”
According to a tweet from Representative Leann Krueger, the House Democrats found out from a reporter only yesterday.
I thought #PAHouse couldn’t couldn’t get worse, but it has. Learned today that a Republican member tested positive for #COVID a week ago. He told R leadership & they told some R members to self-quarantine but never informed Democrats. We learned about it from a reporter today. https://t.co/uv8z4wxMFV
— Rep. Leanne Krueger (@RepLeanne) May 27, 2020
House Republican spokesman Mike Straub stated in an email:
“We followed data and science, implementing the guidelines from the CDC and PA Dept of Health, in line with exactly what Gov. Wolf requires from any business that wishes to operate. Anyone who met those guidelines was notified and quarantined.”
One member of the Pennsylvania House Democratic Caucus, Brian Sims, took to his Facebook page and did a Facebook Live video to explain about the debacle and voice his anger at the House Republicans.
Sims, who has been a member of the Pennsylvania House since 2012, didn’t mince words. In his 12-minute video, Sims listed his fellow Democrats in the state house who had family members that were considered at risk from exposure to the coronavirus. Sims proceeded to reveal that in January 2020, he secretly donated a kidney to someone who he knew that was dying of kidney failure. He explained that he had planned to keep it a secret until after the election.
Sims spoke of what he thought should happen to the House Republicans:
“So here’s what needs to happen. Here’s what I think needs to happen! First of all, Mike Turzai, the Speaker of the House, needs to resign. And any member of leadership that has known what was 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, there needs to prosecutions.”
During the video, Sims also lambasted State House Republicans for their hypocrisy and denial concerning the pandemic.