In the wake of a post on Twitter where the chief spokesman for New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham referred to people who want to quickly reopen the economy as a "death cult," the state's Republican Party is demanding an apology, calling the comments "absurd," "offensive" and "disgusting."
The tweet's author, Tripp Stelnicki, has not commented on the fallout yet.
“You don’t have to ask the death cult their opinion or publish their quotes,” Stelnicki wrote Thursday on Twitter. “False equivalence now is actually life or death. There is no ‘both sides’ to this. There is one group preaching accelerated illness & death because they ‘love’ ‘business’ & if you can’t see through that?”
In a press release, the New Mexico Republican Party stated: "This outrageous tweet, suggesting that Republicans want to get more New Mexicans to contract COVID-19, is shocking and disgraceful. The tweet shows to what lengths the Governor’s Office will go to scare the public and politicize the pandemic."
But a spokesperson for the governor told the Santa Fe New Mexican that Stelnicki's tweet "does not reference any person, group, or organization specifically by name," adding that "if someone seems to think it’s about them, I’d say they’ve placed that upon themselves."
State Republican Party Chairman Steve Pearce and House Minority Leader Jim Townsend (R) on Monday complained that Lujan Grisham's lockdown orders had created economic turmoil in the state.
The drama comes as growing protest movements around the country demand the economy reopen despite the continued spread of coronavirus. This Wednesday, protesters in Michigan ignored social distancing rules and stormed the state capitol to show their opposition to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s health orders.