ERIE (TNS) — Erie native Tom Ridge seems to be all over the place these days, including President Donald Trump’s Twitter feed, as Erie Times-News columnist Kevin Cuneo wrote Monday.
The nation’s first secretary of homeland security, former two-term governor and six-term congressman, Ridge has done much more in recent months than just call out Trump for using federal agents as his “own personal militia.”
Ridge, who will turn 75 next month, also signed on to a letter from both Republican and Democratic former governors in expressing support of Gov. Tom Wolf’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
”All Pennsylvanians should heed the Wolf administration’s directives to wear a mask when out of the home,” Ridge said in the letter. “Like all Pennsylvanians, Gov. Wolf and Secretary (of Health Rachel) Levine are hoping to avoid the COVID-19 spikes impacting other states so that we can get our economy back up and running as soon as possible.”
Weeks earlier, in an op-ed for USA Today, Ridge mocked “Americans carrying weapons as part of their protests” of stay-at-home orders and mandatory business closures.
”What are they planning to do, shoot the virus with their AR-15s?” he wrote, noting that such protests were an insult to veterans like himself “who have worn the uniform of this great country, put themselves in harm’s way in ways most could not comprehend, and protected the right of these protesters to complain.”
Now comes Ridge’s latest endeavor, VoteSafe, another bipartisan project, which he’s co-chairing with former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat. VoteSafe is working to ensure that “every American has the right to vote safely amidst the pandemic,” including in person and by mail.
Say what you will about Ridge. He has detractors on both sides of the political aisle, including Trump. But for a guy who suffered a major heart attack three years ago, Ridge is certainly having a moment back in the political spotlight.
With fewer than 100 days to go until the election, it’s a sure bet that we’ll be hearing even more from the outspoken Ridge.
(Matthew Rink is an Erie Times-News staff writer.)