GREEN BAY, Wis. — Today, Opportunity Wisconsin interviewed Dawn Patel, owner of Brilliant Stranger in Egg Harbor, about reopening the Badger State and the challenges of navigating the federal government’s economic support during this global pandemic.

It’s been 89 days since President Trump said we’d soon have zero cases in the U.S. We now have over 1.7 million cases and nearly 100,000 deaths – more deaths than any other country in the world. President Trump’s chaotic response made this crisis worse, and his failure to act early on has also left 40 million unemployed. It didn’t have to be this way. As new models project U.S. coronavirus deaths doubling in two months due to reopening, President Trump says he will not close the country if there is a second wave outbreak.

When asked what she’d say to President Trump about his leadership and response during the coronavirus pandemic, Patel replied, “I almost want to say ‘thank you’ for showing us what you’re really about, because now we have the opportunity to step outside of our ideas that you are going to be there for us in any way…you left us on our own.”

Instead of working with Congress to pass the HEROES Act, which would provide additional relief for small business owners and the middle class, President Trump is trying to jam through a payroll tax cut, which would give wealthy corporations billions of dollars in tax breaks while a single parent earning $25,000 a year would receive just $500.

“I’m not in a position where I can just make no income for six months. I would lose my business,” said Patel. “A society should always be taking care of those who are in the most dire need…we are the ones who are holding up the economy. We are the ones doing the actual labor.”

Earlier this month, Opportunity Wisconsin sent a letter to Congressional leaders demanding support for working Wisconsinites in the HEROES Act. The letter included a demand for “robust financial assistance for small businesses across the state struggling to make ends meet, in place of the mismanaged Paycheck Protection Program, which has failed to actually deliver relief to small businesses.”

During today’s conversation, Patel expressed frustration with the federal financial assistance process saying at the time she was “not even clear on exactly what I’m even applying for.”

Last week, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin’s Senate testimony revealed how President Trump is putting Wall Street and massive corporations ahead of workers, reiterating that the Trump administration wants workers who don’t want to return to work before it’s safe to be punished by losing their unemployment benefits.

“We’ve seen where the priorities lie for our President and his administration from the beginning, but I think it’s become a lot more obvious through [coronavirus],” said Patel. “I look at this virus and this presidency as a pulling back of the veil that we’ve all been living under.”


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