A Democratic Denver city councilwoman on Tuesday claimed she had actually performed a kind of public service by seeming to encourage a woman to weaponize the deadly coronavirus against Trump supporters.
Candi CdeBaca’s office said in a statement that she was being “sarcastic” when she last week cheered a tweet by the woman that said: “For the record, if I do get the coronavirus, I’m attending every MAGA rally I can.”
CdeBaca had simply been trying to counter the Trump administration’s “downplaying” of the international outbreak, her office explained.
“Councilwoman CdeBaca made a sarcastic tweet on Twitter to call attention to the Trump administration’s downplaying of the coronavirus as a ‘hoax,’ no more dangerous than the common flu,” the statement said, according to ABC affiliate Denver 7.
“Rather than conservative outlets making a four-day-old tweet their focus on Super Tuesday, they should focus their energy on demanding a competent federal response to this public health crisis instead.”
What Candi CdeBaca said about Trump and the coronavirus
CdeBaca, a social worker and community organizer, made the offending comments on Friday from her District 9 city council Twitter account.
“#solidarity Yaaaas!!” she responded to the original tweet by Susan Daniel, whose Twitter bio describes her as a “humanitarian.” CdeBaca added a raised fist emoji and two emojis to indicate laughter.
Daniel has since made all her Twitter activity private. But the Denver GOP was one of many users who preserved the original tweet, calling it “heinous.”
If you missed it, Chairwoman Cook has responded to the heinous comment made by @CandiCdeBacaD9. @MayorHancock @GovofCO your silence to such a comment is unacceptable. This is not #TheDenverWay @KyleClark @Marshall9News @cologop pic.twitter.com/5e478udujC
— Denver Republicans (@GOPDenver) March 3, 2020
Meanwhile, the Colorado GOP demanded CdeBaca “immediately resign” for encouraging Daniel.
Lx Fangonil, the group’s executive director, said in a statement that “praising a social media post calling for Trump supporters to be infected with the coronavirus is simply disgusting.”
“There can be no room in our politics for wishing harm on Americans who have different political beliefs,” he continued. “Democrats in Colorado and across the country need to condemn this evil statement.”
STATEMENT: Colorado GOP calls on Councilwoman CdeBaca to resign over praising a social media post calling for Trump supporters to be infected with the coronavirus. #copolitics https://t.co/WX5LHawlBR pic.twitter.com/Ln0Q2ZDEbU
— The Colorado GOP (@cologop) March 3, 2020
The coronavirus’ impact on Americans is no laughing matter
The coronavirus, formally called “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes, COVID-19 for coronavirus 2019, is a highly contagious virus. With symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath, it has killed nearly 3,000 people in 60 countries since it emerged in China in December, according to the World Health Organization.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday reported 149 confirmed and presumed U.S. cases, which includes those reported by states but not yet confirmed by the agency. They do not necessarily include new cases reported earlier on Thursday.
The U.S. death toll from the respiratory disease now stands at 11, all but one them in Washington state, which has a cluster of at least 39 infections in the Seattle area. The other death, announced on Wednesday, was in California.
U.S. health officials said they expect to be able to get enough coronavirus tests to public laboratories this week to test about 400,000 people, less than half the 1 million they initially said would be available.
They said additional test kits to cover between 1.5 and 1.7 million people would be available by the end of next week.
“Right now, it is a challenge if you are a doctor wanting to get somebody tested,” U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told reporters following a briefing with lawmakers in Washington, adding that physicians could only reach out to a limited network of public health labs.
The Senate on Thursday was poised to pass an $8.3 billion bill aimed at controlling the spread of the coronavirus after the House of Representatives voted 415-2 to pass it on Wednesday.
More than $3 billion of the funds would be devoted to research and development of coronavirus vaccines, test kits and treatments. There are currently no approved vaccines or treatments for the fast-spreading illness now in more than 80 countries and territories.
(Reuters contributed to this report.)