Other Group

Coronavirus War Room

Parent Organization:

Protect Our Care

Director:

Zac Petkanas

Coronavirus War Room is a left-of-center advocacy organization founded in March 2020 that has supported vaccine mandates, mask mandates, and lockdowns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization is a project of Protect Our Care, a dark-money group operating under the Sixteen Thirty Fund, which funds a variety of left-of-center single-issue organizations and is operated by left-of-center philanthropic advisory firm Arabella Advisors.

The group is highly critical of Republican elected officials and publicly derided the Trump administration’s COVID-19 response while praising actions taken regarding COVID under President Joe Biden, such as its vaccine mandate through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which was blocked by the Supreme Court. The group is directed by Zac Petkanas, a former communications advisor to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the late Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). [1]

Background

The formation of the Coronavirus War Room was announced on March 19, 2020 at the onset of the initial round of COVID-19 related lockdowns and business closures across the United States. The group was formed by Protect Our Care, a left-of-center health care advocacy group formed to promote preservation of the Affordable Care Act. Protect our Care is funded by dark-money funder Sixteen Thirty Fund, an advocacy group and lobbying arm of left-of center consultancy Arabella Advisors. Protect Our Care is described by right-leaning critics as a “pop-up” group that consists of a website that portrays a full-fledged independent organization. [2] [3]

Protect Our Care formed Coronavirus War Room initially to criticize the Trump administration’s initial efforts to combat COVID-19 in the U.S. The group characterized the Trump administration’s efforts as a “failure” in March 2020, citing a lack of available testing and protective equipment. The group targeted swing states during the 2020 election cycle in an effort to support the election of President Joe Biden. [4]

Positions

Coronavirus War Room support many COVID-19 related policy priority of state and federal Democrats and has continually praised the Biden administration’s COVID response for its “bold action.” The organization also consistently criticized Republican governors and congressional leaders such as Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Rand Paul (R-KY) and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) for enacting or failing to enact lockdown-style policies that it describes as “prolonging the pandemic.” The group supports COVID vaccine mandates, mask mandates in schools, and testing mandates. [5]

The group also supported the Biden Administration’s attempt to mandate vaccination as a condition of employment through OSHA, which was blocked by the Supreme Court. [6]

In December 2020, the organization hosted an event with New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (D) and Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf (D) to support a $900 billion COVID relief package, criticizing then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for holding the legislation “hostage.” [7]

People

Coronavirus War Room is directed by Zac Petkanas, who was the rapid response communications director for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Presidential Campaign and also worked for Reid, the Democratic National Committee, and Media Matters for America. [8] Petkanas also runs a consulting firm called Petkanas Strategies and founded another left-of-center group called Defend the Republic, was created to target President Donald Trump over alleged associations between Trump, his 2016 Presidential campaign, and the Russian government. [9]

References

  1. “Protect Our Care Launched Coronavirus War Room.” Protect Our Care. Accessed February 7, 2022.  https://www.protectourcare.org/protect-our-care-launches-coronavirus-war-room/ ^
  2. Ludwig, Hayden. “Sixteen Thirty Fund Carpet-Bombed the 2020 Election with Leftist “Dark Money.’” Capital Research Center. December 15, 2020. Accessed February 7, 2022.  https://capitalresearch.org/article/sixteen-thirty-fund-carpet-bombed-the-2020-election-in-leftist-dark-money/ ^
  3. “Protect Our Care Launched Coronavirus War Room.” Protect Our Care. Accessed February 7, 2022.  https://www.protectourcare.org/protect-our-care-launches-coronavirus-war-room/ ^
  4. “Protect Our Care Launched Coronavirus War Room.” Protect Our Care. Accessed February 7, 2022.  https://www.protectourcare.org/protect-our-care-launches-coronavirus-war-room/ ^
  5. “Home.” Coronavirus War Room. Accessed February 7, 2022. https://coronaviruswarroom.org/ ^
  6. “Republican Lawmakers Are Putting Millions of Working Americans’ Lives at Risk by Opposing OSHA’s Vaccine Or Test Rule.” Coronavirus War Room. January 4, 2022. Accessed February 7, 2022. https://coronaviruswarroom.org/republican-lawmakers-are-putting-millions-of-working-americans-lives-at-risk-by-opposing-oshas-vaccine-mandate/ ^
  7. “Gov. Wolf, NJ Gov. Murphy, Protect Our Care Coronavirus War Room Call on Congress to Provide COVID-19 Relief Package Now.” Governor Tom Wolf. December 14, 2020. Accessed February 7, 2022. https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-nj-gov-murphy-protect-our-care-coronavirus-war-room-call-on-congress-to-provide-covid-19-relief-package-now/ ^
  8. “Zac Petkanas.” LinkedIn Profile. Accessed February 7, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/zac-petkanas-622a885/ ^
  9. “Stand Up American and Defend the Republican Launch Impeachment HQ.” October 15, 2019. Accessed February 7, 2022. https://www.standupamerica.com/press-releases/pr-impeachment-hq/ ^
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