Yesterday, Lt. Governor Dan Forest joined a podcast where he proclaimed, “It’s time we let healthy folks get back to their livelihoods” because “we know the demographics of people who are dying from COVID-19.” Once again, Forest sets aside facts, science and the health and safety of North Carolinians. Instead, he’s sowing discord in a crisis to further his own political interests.
Forest seems to be growing increasingly vocal in his criticism of Governor Cooper’s coronavirus response. Assuming there will be more desperate attempts to score political points, let’s recap a few major low points for Forest’s campaign during the outbreak:
March 17th: Dan Forest criticized Governor Cooper’s decision to close bars and restaurants for dine-in service to slow the spread of COVID-19. The Charlotte Observer Editorial Board claimed Forest was sending a “dangerous message” and offered a single word of advice, “Hush.” The very next day, Forest tried to walk back the statement because it did not bode well for him in the press:
- WRAL: Lt. Governor questions validity of governor’s NC restaurant ban
- Charlotte Observer: NC Lt. Gov. Dan Forest disputes governor on coronavirus order
- News & Observer: Forest attacks Cooper on NC coronavirus restaurant closures
April 9th:On a radio show, Forest claimed the media created panic around COVID-19 for “advertising dollars.” Forest also claimed that North Carolina’s data points around the virus were “faulty” and “certainty a bit biased.” Forest also compared virus deaths to car accidents and heart disease and claimed “at some point you say there’s risk out there involved in all parts of life.” When asked what pieces of data were “faulty,” Forest’s campaign declined to answer.
- Indy Week: Dan Forest, an Idiot, Thinks the Media Is Overhyping the Coronavirus to Sell Advertising
- WRAL: Lt. Governor sees holes in NC coronavirus response, warns public about media
April 16th: ReOpen NC Founder Ashley Smith claimed she was taking guidance from Forest. Prior to her arrest, Smith told the press that she has been “taking guidance from” Forest as she mobilizes protesters. In an update video shared in the ReOpen NC Facebook group, Smith also described a Zoom meeting with Forest, “Kristen and I had the honor of having a meeting with Dan Forest which was so cool. He was so encouraging of our cause…and assured us of where his heart is at on this issue.” Forest has yet to denounce the violence and xenophobia coming from ReOpen NC protesters.
- The News Herald: Political protest group gaining statewide attention has local ties
- News & Observer: ReOpen NC: A misguided protest and a selfish message in Raleigh
April 25th: Forest claimed more people have died from the flu than from COVID-19. According to WRAL, “there are several reasons why Forest’s comparison is neither fair, nor accurate.” Once again, Forest is injecting confusion and politics into a public health crisis. Read the full report from WRAL below:
May 1st: Forest claimed Governor Cooper had “no moral, ethical or rational justification” for his coronavirus response and suggested protecting those with pre-existing conditions should not be a priority. Forest’s tweet makes it clear that he believes there are North Carolinians that deserve to be protected and there are more than 4 million North Carolinians with a pre-existing condition that do not.
May 5th: Forest claimed we “need to let the healthy folks get back to their livelihoods” because we “know the demographics” of the people who are dying from COVID-19. He uses this as a springboard into saying NC should reopen county by county, despite there being confirmed cases of COVID-19 in 99 out of 100 counties.
- The Daily Signal: ‘We Can Protect Lives and Livelihoods,’ North Carolina’s Dan Forest Says