Watching Governor Tom Wolf’s press conference Thursday left us stunned.
Not because of the new restrictions he announced. It’s been pretty obvious for the last week or so that these measures, or something similar, was forthcoming.
It was the utter lack of accountability Wolf displayed . . . and that not one member of the assembled press corps called him on it.
First things first, someone in the Governor’s Office lied Tuesday.
Erie News Now had a report Tuesday evening that said Wolf would be holding a press conference Wednesday to announce new statewide restrictions. The outlet, and reporter Isaac Petkac, even went in to specifics. Later, a spokesperson called ENN and said that the story was “not true.”
Yet the measures announced Thursday matched nearly all of what ENN initially reported.
And no one bothered to ask the governor about the discrepancy. Not. One. Question.
Look, we understand the competitive nature of this industry, but at some point, you have to call a spade a spade. While multiple outlets published that Wolf was expected to hold a press conference announcing new restrictions, ENN published the specifics. They were fundamentally correct. Good on them for getting a scoop. Then, the Governor’s Office called to specifically deny the report, just to turn around and announce essentially the same thing two days later. They deserved to be called out for denying a story that was fundamentally true.
Worse still was Wolf’s attempt to shun responsibility for what’s happening across the Commonwealth.
At one point, Wolf was asked about the sudden pivot from Monday when he discussed trying to find ways to help bars and restaurants to prohibiting indoor dining for three weeks Thursday.
His response was mind-boggling.
“It’s not me closing these businesses, it’s the virus,” Wolf said.
No sir, it doesn’t work that way. You can say that the case surge forced you to take action, but the decision is ultimately yours. Own it.
Be a leader and accept responsibility for the actions you’re taking. We shared our opinion about how leadership has been sorely lacking throughout this pandemic. And Wolf, presented with a golden opportunity to show true leadership Thursday (whether you agree with his actions or not), again decided to pass the buck.