The politics of Coronavirus is spreading as fast as the disease itself and is now dominating one local Congressional race in particular.
Freshman Congressman, Harley Rouda (D-Laguna Beach), took to Twitter to launch the latest in a string of failed attempts to smear his opponent, Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel. This latest assault sought to criticize Steel for wearing a protective mask whilst a supply glut exists for essential workers:
You can’t make this up: @MichelleSteelCA and her colleagues are standing in masks…refusing to create workplace safety provisions that would give masks to our brave essential workers.
This isn’t leadership — it’s reserving the lifeboat for yourself. pic.twitter.com/KN9fkGCefe
— Harley Rouda (@HarleyRouda) April 14, 2020
Rep. Rouda’s latest pandemic politicking omits a crucial truth in the picture and that is that these masks were part of a larger donation procured by Steel and the rest of the OC Supervisors to provide masks for the very same workers that Rouda’s tweet invokes.
No, @HarleyRouda. What’s shameful is your continued efforts to politicize this pandemic. This is a picture of me accepting 2,000 face masks for the county’s emergency health workers. https://t.co/UeKPnwgfSg
— Michelle Steel (@MichelleSteelCA) April 14, 2020
This is the not the first or second time that Rep. Rouda has tried and failed to use the Coronavirus for political ends. This latest episode is the third time in as many weeks that Rouda attempts to politicize the pandemic have hit an embarrassing snag.
Last week, Rep. Rouda tried a similar tactic and attempted to lay the onus on Steel to waive or delay Orange County property taxes – something only the Governor and the County Tax Collector can do:
It’s easy for @HarleyRouda to sit and snipe from the sidelines. Since @HarleyRouda‘s focus is always on raising taxes, he likely doesn’t understand only the governor can move the property tax deadline and only the OC Tax Collector can waive penalties (which I’ve asked her to do). https://t.co/a66i3gnGhT
— Michelle Steel (@MichelleSteelCA) April 7, 2020
Lastly and perhaps most the most egregious attempt by Rouda took place last month when the Chinese government’s propaganda arm used Rouda’s pandemic politicking to spread the absurd conspiracy theory that American soldiers brought the Coronavirus to China:
The comments were so distasteful and irresponsible that it earned a response from the Pentagon:
As a global crisis, COVID-19 shd be an area of cooperation between nations. Instead, the Communist Party of China has chosen to promulgate false & absurd conspiracy theories about the origin of COVID-19 blaming U.S. service members. #ChinaPropaganda https://t.co/gAkhEtlEfr
— Alyssa Farah (@PentagonPresSec) March 13, 2020
This contest will prove to be an aggressive one but it remains to be seen if these sorts of attacks will engender support or if the voters will sour on Rouda’s form of politics.