‘I would be derelict in my duty and continue to support something that the data … doesn’t lend itself to…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) A North Carolina county has voted to re-open Wednesday, in defiance of Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper‘s recent decree to extend business-wrecking shelter-in-place orders into May with no timetable for returning to normal.
Gaston County Commissioner Tracy Philbeck confirmed the county’s decision on Wednesday morning, citing the less-than-projected impact of the coronavirus pandemic, paired with the potential for economic disaster.
I plan to sign an order today that reopens Gaston County in phases effective April 29th at 5:00 PM. Staying at home is not a solution. We can protect health and we can work at the same time.
Thank you pic.twitter.com/DU5hzDjEsc
— Tracy Philbeck (@tracyphilbeck) April 29, 2020
In a news conference, Philbeck said that allowing the shut-down to continue would mean “we will not have anything to come back to,” reported WSOC.
Philbeck said he was encouraged to see many other counties following suit by openly opposing the order to extend lock-downs through May 8 at the earliest.
Even Cooper’s fellow party-members criticized the governor for moving too slow.
“We have had hurricane after hurricane. And this is not going away after six months,” said Robeson Commissioner Tom Taylor, a Democrat, according to the Civitas Institute. “I just don’t know how much more we can take.”
But underscoring the level of uncertainty that the virus had brought with it, one of the state’s most prominent Republicans, U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, whose own re-election is at stake in November, urged a more cautious approach.
Tillis said that Cooper’s order had been consistent with the federal guidelines established by President Donald Trump for a gradual reopening.
“While families and small businesses are hurting, the worst thing that could happen is for us to have a significantly worse second spike that results in more loss of life and forces another shutdown of our economy,” he said, according to the Civitas Institute.
Speakers at the event emphasized that the time had come to resist the governor’s unconstitutional mandates.
“Defy him. ’Cause I happen to know some lawyers who have kicked Roy Cooper’s ass before, and we will kick his ass again,” said University of North Carolina-Wilmington professor Mike Adams, an outspoken civil-liberties advocate, during the event.
GOP leaders including US Rep. Dan Bishop, whose district includes areas just east of Gaston County, have criticized Cooper for lacking transparency in detailing how he arrived at his decision to extend the order.
“He doesn’t give us data or the models that are underlying his evaluation,” Bishop told Newsmax TV on Friday in response to Cooper’s announcement.
Bishop noted that the order “doesn’t really say that we’re reopening on May 8,” but only that Cooper would reassess the situation then before determining whether to gradually phase the state into economic recovery.
“The invasiveness, the sort of lack of a clear plan … is very troubling,” Bishop said.
Philbeck said the current numbers not only fail to justify, but contradict Cooper’s supposed rationale for taking the drastic action.
“I would be derelict in my duty and continue to support something that the data … doesn’t lend itself to,” he said. “We can protect the health of our citizens while at the same time putting our citizens back to work.”
Partisan rifts over the virus response simmered below the surface during a Charlotte city council debate Monday over whether to accept a $50 million federal grant to provide RNC convention security, reported Charlotte Business Journal.
Democrats on the council who opposed the grant suggested that the refusal would make a statement that the city was reneging on its commitment to host the convention.
But others argued that the city had no authority to decide whether to cancel the event due to the pandemic and would wind up being on the hook itself if it refused the funding.
The council voted 6-5 to accept the grant.
The debate raging in the Tarheel State mirrors that taking place nationwide as shutdown fatigue grows and tensions build.
Tom Del Beccaro, former chair of California’s state Republican Party, said Newsom’s orders were being applied inconsistently at the local level, resulting in a spate of lawsuits.
“The district attorneys and certain sheriffs aren’t enforcing Gavin Newsom’s rules, so I think things are going to unravel for him,” Beccaro said.