New Jersey gym owners team with senatorial candidate on plan to keep doors open during COVID pandemic
Insight from Atilis Gym co-owners Ian Smith and Frank Trumbetti and U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Rik Mehta.
New Jersey’s Atilis Gym co-owners Frank Trumbetti and Ian Smith have fought to keep their doors open during the coronavirus pandemic and now, partnering with Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rick Mehta, the gym has become an official campaign rally location.
“We took a stand for our constitutional rights and for the rights of all small business owners throughout the country,” Smith told “Fox & Friends Weekend” Sunday. “And it wasn't intended to become political. We were trying to offer a solution to a problem where the government was failing, and it turned political. And that was because of Gov. Murphy's actions. So now we made it political just as much as he has.”
The owners are leaning on the fact that state officials cannot interfere with a political campaign, declaring the gym a campaign rally location for candidate Mehta who is looking to unseat Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., but Trumbetti said that doesn’t mean local officials won’t try to shut their Bellmawr gym down again.
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“We hope it gives us a reprieve until November 3rd,” he said. “Everyone who comes in here will be a volunteer for the Mehta campaign, and we'll be here to exercise our rights.”
A police officer issues Atilis Gym co-owners Ian Smith, left, and Frank Trumbetti, center, summons outside their gym in Bellmawr, N.J., Tuesday, May 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
Smith said Atilis members are excited to be a part of the campaign since Mehta is supportive of the fight small businesses have been facing during the pandemic. Mehta told Fox News’ Pete Hegseth that he believes it’s “time to put policy over politics.”
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“We're really tired of this one-sided control that the governor has,” Mehta said. “We've asked many times… where's the science? … We flattened the curve and they keep moving the goalpost.”
“You want to hurt small businesses? You're crushing the American dream,” Mehta added. “And if you look at the unemployment rates in New Jersey, they're the highest that they've ever been. So it's time for us to put policy over politics… Gov. Murphy turned this into a political chess game. And so what we said is ‘checkmate, governor.’”
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