Presidential adviser Ivanka Trump has sparked a debate online after slamming “blanket lockdowns”, which she said were “not grounded in science”.
The comment was made as Trump’s daughter shared a viral clip showing a confrontation between California restaurant-owner Nick The Greek and health experts who had reportedly issued him a citation for staying open.
In the video, the restaurant’s boss Anton Van Happen is heard crying to the Ventura County Health Care Agency inspectors “Are you going to pay my rent...my employees?" following a suspension of his business permit in relation to COVID-19 restrictions.
"Are you going to pay my rent ? says owner Anton Van Happen of 'Nick The Greek' to public health inspectors issuing him a citation for staying open after being issued a closure order. Things got tense pic.twitter.com/9eKCiAjDaw— Jorge Ventura Media (@VenturaReport) December 15, 2020
The restaurateur's compelling story resonated with the online crowd and caught the eye of the president’s daughter Ivanka, a public critic of lockdown measures.
In particular, the WH adviser said on Twitter that “arbitrary rules” like that were “destroying lives”.
“It is just wrong for small business owners to have fight so hard to keep their American dream alive,” Ivanka wrote, echoing the words of her older brother Donald Trump Jr., who sent a similar vibe on his Twitter account after sharing the same clip.
We need more of this or the politicians will never ever stop their economy destroying power-grab. Lockdowns aren't based in science. The politicians & media hacks still supporting them are actively destroying lives, but they don't care because their paychecks aren't on the line. https://t.co/4tK47baJac— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) December 15, 2020
According to Trump Jr., who had announced in the end of November that he had tested positive for coronavirus, the lockdowns were not based on science.
His comments and those of his sister caused an ambiguous reaction among social media users, many of whom rushed to agree that the restrictions were damaging to food businesses, as restaurants were responsible only for the transmission of less-than-ten-percent of COVID infections, according to contact-tracing efforts.
Shocking, i feel so sorry for the business owners put in this position!— Theresa Newbon (@TheresaNewbon) December 15, 2020
The business owner makes some great points. I feel for the guy.
It's time for the Republicans to stand up to Mitch McConnell and pass an aid package that will keep this guy in business, cover unemployment, and keep Americans safe!— KevinlyFather 🇺🇲🇨🇦🇲🇼🇸🇿 (@KevinlyFather) December 15, 2020
Let's put the blame war belongs!!!
There is a war being waged against small business. The masses are too distracted to care.— Matthew Loop (@matthewloop) December 15, 2020
But some netizens blamed Ivanka's father’s “ignorance” and slow reaction to the coronavirus pandemic for the virus' rapid spread and eventual lockdown restrictions.
The only reason why businesses are in this position is that you & your family ignored science & chose slogans over solutions. The US leads the world in failed responses. You’re never going to be invited to the Met Gala ever again!— Eric Ortner (@eortner) December 15, 2020
Do you think if your father took it more seriously in the beginning, we would be in this situation today?— Anne M Pascucci (@anne_pascucci) December 15, 2020
Some of commentators also moved to ridicule Ivanka for making bold “science” statements despite not being a real expert on the issue.
said noted scientist, Ivanka Trump— Justin Hendrix (@justinhendrix) December 15, 2020
You went to NASA once, too, but that doesn't mean we're going to take your advice on rockets, either.— Rogue NASA (@RogueNASA) December 16, 2020
Listen to real scientists. Don't listen to Ivanka....for anything, really. pic.twitter.com/1CB8tLxbWA
Tell your father to put pressure on the GOP to pass a large relief bill for these small business owners. Unless you don't really care.— Jeff 🇺🇸 (@CntryB4Party) December 15, 2020
Thank you, Dr. Trump. pic.twitter.com/JkwkN5JSYZ— Diane N Sevenay (@DianeSevenay) December 15, 2020
The development comes as the US Congress is expected to vote on a bipartisan Covid-19 relief bill that could endow small businesses with additional $300 billion “desperately needed” support over pandemic-induced loses.