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ICYMI: Ahead of Trump Rally, U.S. Rep. Castor, State Rep. Driskell, Tampa COVID Survivors Blasted Trump’s Failed Pandemic Response, Attacks on Health Care

Today, ahead of Trump’s rally in Tampa, the Florida Democratic Party hosted a virtual press conference with Congresswoman Kathy Castor, State Rep. Fentrice Driskell, and Tampa community members, who shared their health care and coronavirus stories. They highlighted how Donald Trump has surrendered to the coronavirus pandemic and why we need Joe Biden in the White House to defeat the pandemic, build back better, and protect our health care. With just five days before Election Day, they encouraged Floridians to make a plan to vote early at iwillvote.com

The Democratic National Committee launched new billboards in Tampa ahead of Trump’s event at Raymond James Stadium, highlighting how Trump’s failed coronavirus response has hurt Floridians — leading to more than 16,500 Floridians’ deaths and more than a million lost jobs in the state. 

HIGHLIGHTS:

Congresswoman Kathy Castor 

“Here we are in Tampa, the center of the Universe today. We have a real opportunity across this community to understand the contrast between the candidates, between Donald Trump and Joe Biden — and they are stark. President Trump is someone who has wreaked havoc on our small business owners, our schools, even the ability for us to enjoy the Stanley Cup Championship together and Rays World Series run… So, all of this chaos has cost livelihoods, it’s costing jobs, and we know that, unless we get control of the coronavirus, it’s going to continue to wreak havoc. What this all springs from, of course, is the complete and utter failure of Donald Trump to control coronavirus.” 

“…What we know is Joe Biden has a plan to control coronavirus, help us get back to school, get back to work safely. He’s going to improve on our health care bill, build universal coverage, he’s going to listen to scientists when it comes to the climate crisis and build back better. So the contrast is going to be on full display today. I don’t think there’s any question for my neighbors across the Tampa Bay area that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris [is] the right vote for their families and for our great state.”

State Rep. Fentrice Driskell 

“So today Donald Trump is coming to Florida, again, to deliver more empty promises and spin his record — but his record really speaks for itself. Trump’s failed response to the coronavirus pandemic has cost Floridians dearly. If Florida was a country, we’d have the 15th highest coronavirus death toll in the world… Nearly 4 million Floridians have filed for unemployment at some point in the last eight months. When we look at other countries that we regularly compare ourselves to, we know it just didn’t have to be this bad. We’re other leaders led, Trump lied. He knowingly downplayed the danger of the pandemic and even now, with more than 225,000 Americans dead, he’s still downplaying the danger of the pandemic… Trump has surrendered to the virus, but we need a leader who’s going to tackle this pandemic head on. And that’s what Joe Biden will do.” 

“We simply cannot afford another four years, so please don’t wait another minute to cast your ballot for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, there’s too much at stake for you not to make your voice heard in this election.”

Tracey Corn, Tampa mother whose daughters were born with pre-existing conditions

“The Affordable Care Act allows us to sleep at night. It allows us to plan for the future. It allows us to plan for college and weddings and not have to worry about our healthcare bankrupting us. It’s been under attack since its inception, but with the election of Donald Trump, they really have found their champion. He has spent the past four years trying to take away health care from millions of Americans with no plan to replace it… We’ve been waiting for a plan. We’ve been told it’s coming: ‘it’s coming next month it’s coming next week it’s coming any day it’s coming soon.’ It never comes to fruition.”

“…We need more than a binder full of executive orders and inaction to fix this, we need a plan. Joe Biden has a plan. And I urge you not only to vote for Joe Biden to be President of the United States,  but vote for Democrats in the House and the Senate so that he has the support he needs to secure coverage for millions of Americans.”

Karen and Roberto Rodriguez, Tampa couple and coronavirus survivors

Karen: “I feel it is very important to share stories about those who have had COVID during this time. I believe my experience is typical of many people who have had COVID, but to be specific, I contracted COVID on June 17th of this year… I ended up in the hospital, 10 days later due to severe shortness of breath. My family could not bring me into the hospital, they had to just drop me off at the sidewalk, and I was on a ventilator for a week. And due to the incredible staff and the treatments that I received and the prayers of so many I, thankfully, was released from the hospital after being there for 17 days.”

Roberto: “The truth is that once you acquire it, you have to handle it. And not only on a micro-level, in a family scenario, but also in a national scenario…When my wife went into the hospital, I had to say goodbye to her in our garage from a distance, because I was sequestered from her. And that was hard for me. And when my daughter came back [from dropping her off at the hospital]… she was crying that she couldn’t help her mother in, that she couldn’t get her registered, and that she couldn’t say goodbye to her.”

“…This is a very scary event as a family to have to deal with. We are supporting Joe Biden, because, as representative Driscoll says, he has a plan. We know that Trump doesn’t have a plan for the ACA, and he also didn’t have a plan for the pandemic. And Joe Biden does.”

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