IRVINGTON – Appearing here today at a Black Lives Matter/Rev. Al Sharpton booksigning event sponsored by Mayor Tony Vauss and the City of Irvington, state Senator Ronald L. Rice (D-28) considered the COVID-19 hospitalizations of President Donald J. Trump and former Governor Chris Christie and said he could draw only one conclusion.
People need to vote, said the masked Vietnam combat veteran and long-serving member of the state senate, the governing body’s senior African American senator from Newark and an early backer of the U.S. Presidential candidacy of Joe Biden.
Rice originally advocated for in-person, socially distanced and sanitized voting opportunities as New Jersey continues to combat COVID-19, but accepted the VBM (vote by mail) election finally exercised by Governor Phil Murphy.
“We need to educate people,” he told InsiderNJ in an interview outside Vauss’ office at City Hall in the lead-up to the booksigning. We need to encourage everybody, as soon as they get their ballot in the mail, it’s the only process we have right now. They need to fill them out. We do not need people in big crowds. …We’ve got to get past this. We’ve got to change what’s going on in America. We have got to give the [former] vice president the chance to lead this nation.”
The senator watched the presidential debate earlier this week and descibed it as “very unfortunate.”
“A presidential debate of this nature was somewhat of a clown show with President Trump constantly breaking in and Vice President Biden trying to stay with the issues. People didn’t get the benefit of what he means, particularly given COVID-19 and the economy.
“The reality is COVID-19 is a cold-weather virus,” Rice added. “We have to get ready again.”
He was critical of the president and of the president’s backers who did not take the virus sufficiently seriously to protect themselves and others.
“For the president to move around the country and indicating that this is not a serious thing, similar to the flu, not wearing a mask – unfortunately the irony is he’s in a hosptal,” Rice said. “Former Governor Chris Christie is in the hospital because he listened to that nonsense and he’s constantly around the president trying to pacify him. Two U.S. senators jon the judicary committee tested COVID-19 positive and the debate about the next Supreme Court justice may not even take place.
“This is really sad,” Rice added, gently chastising those who did not pay heed to Governor Phil Murphy, who, Rice said, continues to take the virus seriously.