Gov. Pritzker barks back, says Trump partly to blame for COVID-19 spike

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J.B. Pritzker

In this March 19, 2020 photo, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker listens to a question during a news conference in Chicago. Amid an unprecedented public health crisis, the nation’s governors are trying to get what they need from the federal government – and fast. But often that means navigating the disorienting politics of dealing with President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

CHICAGO, Ill. (AP) – Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Sunday that President Donald Trump and his allies in Illinois are partly to blame for the coronavirus spike in the state.

Pritzker spoke to CNN’s “State of the Union” the same day health officials announced 4,245 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 22 additional deaths.

“He’s modeling bad behavior. He doesn’t wear a mask in public. He has rallies where they don’t encourage people to wear masks in public,” Pritzker said. “But it is the president’s allies in our state, all across the state, who are simply saying to people, ‘Don’t pay any attention to the mitigations, don’t follow the rules.’ Indeed, there are bars and restaurants which are restricted from expanding their indoor service that are just ignoring the rules, and they’re just filling the place up.”

Trump appeared Saturday at a rally in Wisconsin, blasting Illinois’ COVID-19 restrictions, saying schools should fully reopen.

“Illinois could use a new governor,” Trump told supporters. “That guy doesn’t know what’s happened.”

Pritzker, a Democrat elected in 2018, spoke to CNN days after Illinois reported a new record for COVID-19 cases, coinciding with spikes elsewhere nationwide. Illinois officials have said high testing rates are part of the reason behind the surge.

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