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In Video Rant, Pa. Democrat Accuses ‘Callous’ Republicans of Hiding Lawmaker’s Coronavirus Diagnosis: ‘You Belong In Jail!’


State Rep. Brian Sims, a Pennsylvania Democrat, released the mother of all video rants Wednesday night via Facebook.

From his office in the statehouse, Sims railed against Pennsylvania House Republicans for a scorching — at times screaming, and at times profanity-laden — 12 minutes. According to Sims, Rep. Andrew Lewis (R) tested positive for COVID-19, but the GOP never informed House Democrats – not even those who had been in contact with Lewis.

Sims angrily called out Pennsylvania’s “gerrymandered Republican leadership” for arguing that it was safe to reopen the state – all while secretly testing positive for COVID-19 themselves.

Sims said that Pennsylvania’s state government committee “has been the place where all of these fucked up bills to pretend that it is safe to go back to work have been going.” He continued to say that “every day, the committee has met so that its members could line up and explain that it was safe to go back to work,” but that “meanwhile, we are learning that during that time period, they were testing positive.”

Rep. Lewis has confirmed to media that he tested positive for COVID on May 20 after undergoing the test on May 18. He said that following the diagnosis, he immediately began self-isolation protocol and contacted both the House of Representatives and his Human Resources department.

Lewis also said that he followed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s workplace exposure guidelines to determine everyone he may have been in contact with and everyone who may have possibly been exposed. According to Lewis, those members or staffers who met the criteria for exposure were contacted and required to self-isolate for fourteen days. Lewis, who says that he has now fully recovered, explained that he kept his diagnosis private “out of respect” for his own family as well as those he might have exposed to the virus.

Mike Straub, the Pennsylvania House Republican Spokesman, told NBC10 Philadelphia:

“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.”

Pennsylvania Democrats, however, had a markedly different reaction. Rep. Jason Dawkins (D) called GOP leadership “reckless” and said that although “multiple Republican members went into self-quarantine as a result, not a single Democratic lawmaker was informed, including Democratic leadership.”

In the video, Sims specifically called out Rep. Russ Diamond (R) for having “led the charge to open up the state” while secretly quarantining for weeks. “Russ diamond walked around the House floor every single day without a mask on,” fumed Sims.

Sims also revealed that in addition to members and their families whose health may have been risked, he himself is immunocompromised as a result of recently having donated the gift of life.

“I didn’t donate my kidney to save somebody’s life so that I could die at the hands of Republicans who are being callous liars,” Sims seethed.

Sims demanded a full investigation by the state Attorney General and the Secretary of Health, testing for all staffers done at the expense of the Republican caucus, and the resignation of House Speaker House Speaker Mike Turzai (R) and members of GOP leadership who withheld COVID-19-related information.

“You should be in jail!” Sims said.

[Screengrab via Brian Sims/Facebook]

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Elura is a columnist and trial analyst for Law & Crime. Elura is also a former civil prosecutor for NYC's Administration for Children's Services, the CEO of Lawyer Up, and the author of How To Talk To Your Lawyer and the Legalese-to-English series. Follow Elura on Twitter @elurananos