LAFAYETTE, La. (KATC) — In a video posted on his Facebook page, Rep. Clay Higgins, R-Port Barre, criticizes Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards and his aggressive response to the Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
In the video titled "We're Not Going to Take It Anymore," which appears to be shot in the Time Plaza Shopping Center on Johnston Street, Higgins said that while he respects the governor and advises everyone to take COVID-19 seriously, he disagrees with how he has ordered small and local businesses around the state to temporarily shut down in the face of the growing pandemic.
"It's really difficult for some of us to just comprehend that you're doing what you're doing," said Higgins. "It's a serious economic impact, man. You're hurting the citizens that we serve. They can make up their own mind. These people that own these businesses they can make up their own mind. They're not stupid. You can't make their decisions for them because you think you know best. They know how to limit contact and adjust their services to respond to this virus. It's a virus, man!"
Higgins then questions the legal extent of the governor's emergency proclamation and asks which statute allows him to shutter businesses across the state while he sits in his "Ivory Tower" in Baton Rouge.
This stance differs with not only the governor, but also public health officials and even leaders within his own party. Those would include Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, who is a physician that has been supportive of the governor's action, and even President Donald Trump who advised everyone to stay at home and limit their interactions and gatherings with 10 or fewer people in order to avoid spreading the virus.
KATC reached out to the governor's office for comment.
"Congressman Higgins clearly cares more about Facebook views that the people of Louisiana," said Christina Stephens, a spokesperson for the governor. "In the span of about a week, Louisiana now has four deaths and 171 confirmed COVID-19 cases. We have one of the fastest per capita rates of coronavirus growth in the nation. In times like these we need to come together to protect our people. It is incredibly disappointing that the Congressman is instead focused on attacking the governor."
You can watch the full video on Rep. Higgin's Facebook page.