HARRISBURG (Newsradio 1020 KDKA/AP) - Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf is denouncing a Republican state lawmaker and self-styled opponent of mask-wearing for mimicking the words of the state’s health secretary, who is transgender, by appealing for tolerance of the “unmasked community."
Lebanon County Rep. Russ Diamond released a statement on Wednesday that was nearly a word-for-word parody of Dr. Rachel Levin’s call for tolerance and acceptance of LGBTQ people.
Diamond swapped out her references to “LGBTQ” with “unmasked.”
Diamond’s parody drew the wrath of the Democratic governor, who on Thursday called it “abhorrent, disrespectful, dangerous” and a “thinly veiled attacked on the LGTBQ community” and Levine.
“Virtually no thinking person disputes mask-wearing as an effective means to stop the spread of COVID. Proud non-mask-wearers such as Rep. Diamond are not displaying their freedom, but rather their ignorance and lack of respect for themselves, their families, neighbors and communities when they don’t wear a mask, and are likely leading to more spread of this dangerous virus,” said Wolf. “To equate any disrespect for those not wearing masks to the decades of disrespect, threats and violence against our LGBTQ community goes far beyond the hallmarks of a decent society. For these actions to come from a legislator elected to fairly represent all his constituents is simply unforgivable.
Wolf is also calling on Republican leaders in house to censure Diamond “immediately.”
“We need the Republicans to stop spreading misinformation to the general public, and we badly need them to be more responsible and more responsive to the health and wellbeing of all Pennsylvanians. This dangerous, reckless behavior is not welcome in Pennsylvania.”
Diamond responded by calling Wolf’s pandemic policies “abhorrent, unlawful, political and deadly.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.