By Pa. State Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, House Democratic Policy Committee chairman
President Donald Trump called the Pennsylvania House of Representatives this week, the first time in his one term in office the president has personally reached out to lawmakers.
He wasn’t calling to apologize for not wearing a mask for so long and inspiring people to spread the virus to the point the death toll of the virus nationwide is approaching the entire population – every man, woman, and child – of the city of Pittsburgh.
He wasn’t calling to say he was disappointed we used federal CARES Act money earmarked to help workers, students and small businesses survive the COVID-19 virus to patch massive holes in our budget.
He wasn’t calling to ask what he could do to make sure we didn’t run out of hospital beds or protective gear for healthcare workers or offer resources to deliver our patients the same level of exceptional care he got at Walter Reed when he was sick.
He wasn’t calling to assure us we would be one of the first states to get the vaccine for our nurses and doctors who’ve been on the front lines since March, or our agricultural workers risking their lives to feed a nation, or our older residents and the people who care for them in nursing homes, or our first responders risking their lives with every emergency.
He wasn’t calling to check on the health of the people who caught the virus thanks to the rallies he insisted on holding in defiance of medical advice against large crowds, or for sending members of his legal team to sit in packed indoor rooms with lawmakers who were spreading lies while spreading disease.
No, when Donald Trump called the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, he wasn’t calling about battling the virus, or helping workers, or keeping families from being evicted, or addressing inequality, or even a plan to help the economy.
Donald Trump called to ask legislators to throw out the results of the election because he lost.
Trump wanted to know what we could do for him. He wanted to erase the votes of people in the state where American democracy was born because his feelings are hurt. He wanted to make sure he doesn’t face any reality or any consequences for his actions. He wanted us to help him do the only thing he really cares about – look good on TV.
Thankfully, the Republican leaders of the Pennsylvania House and the Senate made it very clear to Trump there is no way to ignore the will of the people and overturn the results of a free, fair and historically secure election.
Ironically, it’s the extremists in the Republican party – the ones who claim to love the constitution so much -- who are bowing down to a would-be dictator who not only wants to be installed in an office he lost, but who has made no secret of his plans to stay beyond two terms and then have his children take his place on the throne -- you know, the kinds of things that led to that day in Philadelphia in 1776 when we told Mad King George we would be ruled by the people, not a monarch.
In January, legislators will be sworn for a new session of the House of Representatives, and I’m honored to serve the people and my colleagues as Democratic Policy Committee chair. Later in January, Donald Trump will be gone from the White House.
We’re ready to do what’s right for the people: Fighting for good jobs with real pay and benefits and safe workspaces. Making sure our kids go to schools preparing them for a life of success. Treating the virus as a health crisis and not a political football. Helping people afford to see a doctor when they get sick. Guaranteeing all people are equal before the law and can get their piece of the American Dream – no matter what that might be.