aleigh – On the eve of the next scheduled ReOpen NC protest in Raleigh, one of the leading organizers of the group has admitted that she tested positive for COVID-19. Even as North Carolina’s number of confirmed cases and deaths related to the virus continues to rise, President Trump and Republicans in Raleigh have refused to condemn the dangerous protests that have violated social distancing guidelines and put first responders in harm’s way.
“The fringe ReOpen NC group continues to demonstrate a jaw dropping lack of social responsibility and a complete disregard for our first responders and health workers on the front lines of this crisis,” said NCDP Communications Director Austin Cook. “As these protests continue to be propped up by shady Republican organizations and conservative local leaders, President Trump’s silence is deafening. It is long past time that he and his henchmen disavow these demonstrations and encourage their supporters to abide by his own administration’s social distancing guidelines — North Carolina’s heroes deserve better.”
Numerous news reports have directly linked ReOpen NC and similar groups in other states to national Republican figures including Stephen Moore, a Trump adviser working at the right-wing Heritage Foundation.
Meanwhile, allies of Trump including U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop and State Rep. Jerry Carter even attended last week’s rally. ReOpen NC, which claims to be a grassroots organization, is also represented by the law firm Michael Best & Friedrich, which advises the Trump Organization and employs former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, former deputy White House counsel Stefan Passantino and Justin Clark, senior counsel for Trump’s reelection campaign.
The next protest is scheduled just days after North Carolina saw its largest single-day increase in confirmed coronavirus cases, with 490 new individuals testing positive on Saturday. Organizers of the demonstrations have been sharply criticized, including by the Charlotte Observer’s editorial board, which called the behavior “dangerous,” and “a violation of [Gov. Cooper’s] lawful order.”