Democratic Party of Wisconsin
Press Release

It Didn’t Have to be This Bad: Mothers of University of Wisconsin Students Blast Trump for Failed COVID-19 Response

"If Trump and the Republicans had taken this pandemic seriously, my son, and countless other kids just like him, would be working their way through college."

By - Sep 16th, 2020 02:24 pm

(WISCONSIN) — Wisconsin mothers, including Democratic Party of Wisconsin Second Vice-Chair and 57th Assembly District candidate Lee Snodgrass, 48th Assembly Representative and 16th State Senate District candidate Melissa Sargent, UW-LaCrosse Faculty member Laurie Cooper Stoll, and Staci Nielson called out the Donald Trump for his failure to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and lack of a plan to confront the virus. Through his negligence and unwillingness to listen to the science, Trump’s chaotic response to COVID-19 has contributed to dangerous situations at college campuses across the state. Trump still doesn’t have a plan, and students and parents are suffering as a result.

Watch the full event here or read excerpts of what the speakers said below.

State Rep. Melissa Sargent: “If Trump and the Republicans had taken this pandemic seriously, my son and countless other kids just like him, would be working their way through college, and they wouldn’t be in this situation… They’re not able to see their friends, they’re not able to interact with their professors, they’re not able to participate in extracurricular activities, and all of this has been stripped away because Donald Trump simply doesn’t care about them, he doesn’t care about their future, and he doesn’t care about the rest of the country… They’ve put aside their responsibility to our country as elected leaders, and they have seen this pandemic as nothing more than a political problem. They’re playing games with people’s lives instead of putting partisanship aside and coming up with the solutions that my son, and all of the other young people across our nation and here in the state of Wisconsin deserve… My son and other graduating students are going to have a harder time finding work because Trump collapsed the economy… This is all the result of Trump and his Republican colleague’s failed leadership. My son, his friends, deserve better.”

Second Vice-Chair Lee Snodgrass: “We all thought things were going to get better, we all thought we would never be here now. We thought that our president would show some leadership. We thought that our GOP legislature would show some leadership, we would have the virus under control, and we would be in different circumstances now… Henry’s story is not unique, he has friends and peers all over the country in schools who are doing school, like Melissa’s son, either from their home, and some of them are even moving to other cities to do their school online. But where they want to be is at the schools that they’ve chosen. The schools that they’ve worked hard to get into and apply to, and the schools they have pride in… We want him to be able to attend in full form like everybody else, and we have enormous sympathy for everybody who is suffering because the Trump administration very clearly put other needs before the needs of families and students like ours.”

Laurie Cooper Stoll: “What’s happening on our college campuses in Wisconsin and across the US impacts our whole community in which these universities are located. Those of us who work on campuses where care is going up are going home to our families, we’re going to the grocery stores in our communities and seeking out essential services… Many students, on and off campus, report that they’re struggling with feelings of anxiety, and being overwhelmed, and feeling isolated and depressed. To be honest with you, a number of faculty members are struggling with the same thing… We are seeing the ripple effects of this failure of national leadership throughout all of our social institutions, including our educational system… And it didn’t have to be this way. It didn’t have to be this bad. Trump has acknowledged that he knew how deadly the virus was back in February, but has failed to articulate and execute a national strategy for how we are going to combat this virus. From my perspective, we all need to be voting for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris this fall like our lives depend on it, because when it comes to the virus, they literally do.”

Staci Nielson: “I have a son in his first semester at UW-Madison and a daughter finishing college at Marquette this semester. Because of Donald Trump’s failure to address the coronavirus pandemic, they are losing the most important parts of their college experience… He was incredibly excited to live in Madison, meet new people and to experience college life: going to football and basketball games, hanging out with friends, all of it. We never dreamed in March that the federal response to the pandemic would be to ignore the problem and actually make it harder for states to respond… Freshman year is one of the most important times, not only socially, but to establish yourself academically, and he can’t do that because the Trump administration failed to respond to this pandemic and is continuing to ignore it. Last night, Trump said again, it’s going to go away. My daughter is graduating and should be having her final goodbyes with her friends on campus this semester, after working so hard for four years. But now she has to stay home and wait to enter a collapsing job market, because Trump put politics over the health and economic stability of Wisconsinites.”

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