Trump joins Georgia Senate Republicans who profited off of the loss of Georgian lives and economic hardship due to pandemic

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Tomorrow, President Trump will join Georgia Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue for a presidential rally in Valdosta, Georgia. Like President Trump, Georgia Senators Loeffler and Perdue have a history of downplaying the economic and public health impacts of the coronavirus, despite personally profiting from it.

  • Both Senators have denied using confidential information to inform their stock trades despite the fact that on the same day these Senators were first privately briefed about the potential impact and spread of the virus in January, both reportedly started making moves to ensure their personal fortunes would grow.
  • Both claim to be “outsiders” but both have been investigated for accusations of INSIDER trading.
  • Perdue has been the Senate’s most prolific stock trader by far, making over 2,596 stock trades during his term, with data showing him positioned to benefit from the committees and subcommittees on which he served.
  • Both Loeffler and Perdue abandoned companies that would suffer in the pandemic and invested in those which would gain from it.

Rather than protect the health of Georgians and the American people, their first instinct was to protect their wealth, betting on Georgians dying in the short term to make long-term profit.

  • As cases spike exponentially, Georgia has been devastated by the coronavirus, with over 471,563 cases and 9,452 deaths.
  • Economic instability has led Georgia single-parent families with one child on a modest budget to face a shortfall of $2,823 per month, according to a recent Center for American Progress analysis.
  • Instead of helping Georgia families struggling with costs of childcare, both Loeffler and Perdue both voted against the PAID Leave Act in March. And while they have joined McConnell’s move to delay additional coronavirus relief measures that passed the House in May, Georgia has suffered damaging cuts to its state budget.
  • In Georgia, policymakers approved a 10 percent cut for 2021, including a nearly $1 billion cut for K-12 public schools and cuts to programs for children and adults with developmental disabilities, among others.
  • This is after Perdue and Loeffler stood in the way of raising the minimum wage in Georgia to $15 — something that would have given 1.6 million Georgians a raise.
  • Since Republicans took the Senate majority in 2015, Georgia job growth fell to a 9-year low in 2019, even before the president’s inept handling of the COVID-19 pandemic tanked the economy.
  • Meanwhile, the Black community in Georgia has been disproportionately harmed on every front as Georgia’s Senators have profiteered off of the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Nearly 150,000 Georgians stand to lose unemployment insurance benefits at the end of December because Perdue and Loeffler have been blocking aid to small businesses and unemployed people.
  • On Small Business Saturday, Perdue insulted the product of a black owned small business while promoting a corporate chain. Meanwhile, small businesses,the backbone of the state’s economy, have been closing by the hundreds.
  • On top of it all, Perdue and Loeffler have voted a combined 11 times to repeal protections in the Affordable Care Act and have both consistently supported taking health care away from 461,000 Georgians and stripping protections for 4.4 million more with pre-existing conditions.

Georgia layoffs and shutdowns

  • Coca-Cola cutting thousands of jobs in major reorganization. “The cuts pose more challenges for metro Atlanta, which suffered massive job losses earlier this year. While the region added thousands of jobs in July, it still had about 200,000 fewer jobs than at the end of last year.” [AJC, 8/28/2020]
  • ‘80% of metro Atlanta’s hotel workers have been laid off over COVID-19, experts say.’ [WSBTV, 10/21/2020]
  • ‘30% of Georgia restaurants to close over pandemic.’ [WSBTV, 10/14/2020]
  • ‘Nearly 500 Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines pilots face furloughs.’ [BizJournals, 10/23/2020]
  • Jacobson Warehouse Company cuts 175 jobs. [AJC, 7/9/2020]
  • The Weather Company, which runs Weather Underground and Weather.com, based in Georgia lays off dozens stops blog. “The Weather Company, which operates the popular websites Weather.com and Weather Underground, and offers forecast and weather graphics services to many industries, has slashed dozens of jobs, part of a wave of large-scale layoffs imposed by its parent company, IBM.” [Washington Post, 6/10/2020]

Perdue and Loeffler’s financial moves made clear they looked to profit off of the virus.

On January 24th, the same day Senators Loeffler and Perdue attended a closed-door coronavirus briefing for Senators, both started making moves in the stock market that would personally benefit their bank accounts. The trades involved companies the virus would drastically impact, which their financial disclosures showed they benefited from. Both senators claim these well-timed trades happened without their knowledge and were completed by third party financial advisers. You can find a complete list of both Senators’ transactions on and after the date of the private briefing here and some highlights are below:

  • Combined, the Georgia Senators sold somewhere between $32.8 million and $125.8 million worth of stocks in the four months after receiving their closed door coronavirus briefing. They’ve only made a handful of transactions since May. [U.S. Senate Financial Disclosures, Accessed 11/17/2020]
  • Both purchased stock in DuPont de Nemours, Inc., a company that specializes in PPE manufacturing, early in the year. Perdue purchased the stock on January 24th, the same day he received the closed-door coronavirus briefing from government officials. [U.S. Senate Financial Disclosures, Accessed 11/17/2020, AJC, 4/6/2020]
  • Loeffler and her husband offloaded nearly $50,000 worth of stock in an online travel company in the days leading up to Trump’s European travel ban. On March 10th and 11th they sold over $46,000 worth of stock in Booking Holdings, a company that specializes in online booking of hotels, flights and other travel related services; some financial experts call the trades unusual. [Bloomberg, 4/2/2020]
  • Loeffler and her husband bought stock in two tech companies Citrix, a tech company that specializes in telework, and Oracle, another tech company, on February 14th. The purchase was made on February 14th and they sold it on April 7th making profit of over $30,000. [U.S. Senate Financial Disclosures, Accessed 11/17/2020, Yahoo Finance, accessed 11/17/2020]
  • In mid February, Loeffler and her husband sold up to $500,000 worth of stock in Exxon Mobil, avoiding losses. The oil and gas industry has been one of the hardest hit by the virus. [USA Today, 4/8/2020]
  • Perdue sold $165,000 worth of Caesar’s Entertainment stock, a casino company hard hit by the pandemic, in February. [AP, 3/20/2020]
  • In February and March, Perdue bought shares in companies that would stand to benefit from the pandemic like Netflix and Pfizer; he purchased up as much as $310,000 in these two stocks. [U.S. Senate Financial Disclosures, Accessed 11/17/2020]

How they downplayed coronavirus and what they said about blocking aid.

  • Loeffler missed half of the COVID related Senate HELP Committee hearings. Loeffler sits on the Senate HELP Committee which is responsible for overseeing the federal government’s public health response to the pandemic. This committee heard from the government’s top public health experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Robert Redfield, the CDC Director. The hearings covered vaccine developments, plans to control the spread, and gave Senators an opportunity to ask questions about what has gone well and what has not. She missed five of the ten, a full half of the COVID related hearings the Senate HELP Committee held this year. [CAP Action Analysis, 11/14/2020]
  • Perdue said the coronavirus was no worse than a bad flu season and compared the public’s risk to that of driving a car on a call with business leaders. [Vox, 5/19/2020]
  • Perdue: ‘Things in Georgia are going as well as can be expected.’ Perdue said in July, after 3,000 Georgians had died from coronavirus and nearly 120,000 had become infected, that things in Georgia are going as well as can be expected.” [CNBC, 7/15/2020]
  • In March, Perdue assured Georgians that Trump and the Vice President have done a ‘great job of educating people on how to protect themselves.’ During the same interview, Perdue said the “risk still remains low” and “we’re hopeful this thing will burn itself out before we see a dramatic increase in the numbers hers.”[WDAK, 3/11/2020]
  • Perdue on Trump’s handling of the coronavirus…’we’ve done everything we could do.’ When asked a question about whether he was concerned about Trump’s handling of the crisis, Perdue said: “No, I think, given the uncertainty that we had at the very beginning, we’ve done everything we could. Right now he sees declaring Covid-19 as the enemy. We’re not fighting among ourselves. We’re all together: Democrats (and) Republicans should be fighting this virus.” [CNN, 7/27/2020]
  • Perdue called additional unemployment relief a “hindrance.” [Bloomberg, 7/16/2020]

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