Press Release

Idaho COVID Cases Are Rising: What Did Senator Risch Know & When Did He Know It?

By October 7, 2020 October 12th, 2020 No Comments

BOISE, IDAHO — Coronavirus cases and deaths are on the rise again in Idaho. And on the other side of the country, President Trump unfortunately demonstrated how complacency can lead to new outbreaks and keep people out of work. But Senator Risch has done nothing to lead Idahoans out of the crisis — and he may have known enough to prevent it. 

In a statement, U.S. Senate nominee Paulette Jordan said:

“According to the Idaho Press, our state has the second highest positivity rate of COVID cases in the country. On Tuesday, Idaho recorded at least seven new deaths and 655 new cases of the virus. That is far too many. We experienced an average of 519 new cases per day over the past week — an increase of 53 percent since two weeks ago, according to a New York Times database. We have to stay vigilant, wear masks and social distance. But what is Senator Risch doing to protect us? He’s talking about the NEXT pandemic — not the one we’re in.”

Additional information on Senator Risch’s failure to act on COVID includes: 

As chair of the Foreign Relations Committee and a member of the Select Committee on Intelligence, Risch consequently has had access to an incredible amount of information about the serious coronavirus threat since the beginning of the year. Even more crucially, he is known to have an extremely close relationship with President Trump — and he keeps their conversations private

In light of the revelations Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bob Woodward recently made about how much President Trump knew back in January about the existential public health risk the virus posed and his effort to hide that risk, it’s important to ask: How much did Senator Risch know and when did he know it?

Risch repeatedly has used language that mimics President Trump’s, even suggesting in a March 18th editorial that he didn’t want to “raise panic” despite the arrival of COVID-19 in Idaho. 


  • January 24. Risch tweeted in his role as SFRC chair that he received a coronavirus briefing, and: “We learned that the risk of transmission within the U.S. is low at present.”
  • February 7. Trump told Woodward COVID-19 is “more deadly than your, you know, your — even your strenuous flus.”
  • February 13. Risch tweeted in his role as SFRC chair that he attended a White House coronavirus task force briefing.
  • February 13. Intel Committee Chair Burr sold off stocks. 
  • February 27. By this time, Risch was already receiving daily briefings on COVID-19 as an Intel Committee member.
  • February 27. Intel Committee Chair Burr told a VIP group: “There’s one thing that I can tell you about this: It is much more aggressive in its transmission than anything that we have seen in recent history…. It is probably more akin to the 1918 pandemic.”
  • February 27. Trump said at a White House event: “It’s going to disappear. One day it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”
  • March 18. Risch wrote in an editorial:  “Idaho has nine confirmed coronavirus cases. Less than a week ago, we had zero. I mention this not to raise panic, but to remind people how quickly this situation is evolving. Idaho was one of the very last states to report its first confirmed positive COVID-19 case.”
  • March 19. Trump told Woodward: “I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down. Because I don’t want to create a panic.”
  • September 9. Woodward’s interviews exposing Trump broke in the news
  • October 7. Risch tweeted: “We need a strategy to protect Americans from future pandemics. That’s why I’m working w/ @SenatorCardin and my Foreign Relations colleagues on bipartisan legislation to prevent a pandemic like this one from ever happening again.”


Paulette Jordan’s message is “People First Policy,” emphasizing health care, economic recovery, stewardship of land, and increased federal fiscal discipline and accountability.  She is endorsed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and EMILY’s List. More information about Jordan’s campaign for the U.S. Senate can be found at her website