A clip of Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister getting emotional and describing himself as "the guy who's stealing Christmas to keep you safe," went viral on social media Thursday evening as celebrities shared it with their large Twitter followings — only to be virtually confronted by some Manitobans who criticized Pallister's pandemic response.
Former NBA player Rex Chapman, who has become known for sharing positive content on Twitter during the pandemic, tweeted the clip from Pallister's Thursday news conference to his one million followers. He deleted it after Manitobans began offering some context. KISS rocker Paul Stanley and musician Richard Marx piggybacked on Chapman's tweet, praising its message.
The video caught the attention of MSNBC's Morning Joe program.
Pallister made the comments at the end of a news conference about his government's response to COVID-19, as he responded to reporters' questions and reflected on a recent survey that ranked him as the Canadian premier with the lowest public approval rating.
Pallister called those who don't believe in the virus "idiots" and said he understands why people don't like him.
"You don't need to like me. I hope in years to come, you might respect me for having the guts to tell you the right thing, and the right thing, and here's the right thing. Stay safe, protect each other, love each other, care for each other. You've got so many ways to show that. But don't get together this Christmas," Pallister said.
In response to the high-profile tweets that had Pallister trending on Twitter, several Manitobans commented that they thought it wasn't the restrictions imposed by his government that led to Pallister's lowest approval rating, but rather his early bid to restart the provincial economy this summer and the province's lack of planning for the second wave of the virus.