AURORA, Ill. (WMBD) — In a press conference Monday, state Republicans made clear their outrage over the deadly outbreak at the LaSalle Veterans’ Home. They had scathing remarks for Gov. J.B. Pritzker, mentioned “ignored” proposed legislation, and even called for the resignation of an official.

Gubernatorial Candidate Richard Irvin addressed the LaSalle Veterans’ Home in Aurora.

“We are here to discuss the senseless tragedy that occurred at the LaSalle Veterans Home, where 36 of our nation’s heroes needlessly, needlessly lost their lives,” said Irvin, Aurora’s mayor.

He blamed his opponent in the Gubernatorial race, Gov. J.B. Pritzker, calling it “extreme and gross negligence” on Pritzker’s part.

Citing State General Auditor Frank Mautino’s report, Irvin said Pritzker and his team were aware of the COVID-19 outbreak at the veterans’ nursing home that infected about 200.

“The public health department did not arrive at LaSalle home until 11 days after the outbreak started,” he said. “This is despite leadership getting daily updates on the worsening crisis at the home.”

Irvin used the press conference to bolster his Gubernatorial campaign, and slam the campaign of his opponent.

The full press conference can be viewed here:

“As a veteran, who proudly served my country in combat, I am sickened by the fact that J.B. Pritzker and his administration sat idly by instead of springing into action to save the lives of those who served our country and defended our freedoms,” Irvin said.

“There needs to be accountability,” he continued.

Sharing the podium was State Senate Minority Leader Sue Rezin (R-Morris), State Rep. David Welter (R-Morris), and Irvin’s running mate, State Rep. Avery Bourne (R- Morrisonville).

Resin said the outbreak was the deadliest in Illinois’ history at a state-run facility. Out of 710 state-run facilities monitored by IDPH, four reported more than 50 cases of COVID-19 in the first week of November. Of those four, LaSalle was the only facility that reported more than 100.

“That information alone, according to the auditor general’s report, should have raised an immediate response by this administration,” she said.

The audit report stated that 85% of the nursing home’s 128 residents tested positive for COVID-19 during this outbreak, not including staff and administration.

Resin brought up her series of legislative bills aimed at changing how the state responds to outbreaks, which she claims have been ignored.

Welter took the stand to address House Resolution 62, claiming “the governor’s investigation was deceptive from the start.” He called the investigation’s scope “narrow.”

He called for the resignation (or firing) of the Deputy Governor, saying she lied about when she learned about the outbreak.

The full audit report, cited throughout Monday’s press conference, can be found below:

How have other Gubernatorial candidates responded to the audit report?

Irvin’s response is clear: he blames Pritzker and his administration for failing the nursing home veterans.

Pritzker, on the other hand, blamed management and said in a press conference that he even fired some of those people.

“People in the area weren’t following mitigations,” Pritzker said. “People were being infected and bringing it into the home and that that was an enormous challenge and then on top of that there were some management faults that occurred and as you know, I did hold people accountable, and I did fire people who were in those positions.”

However, other Republicans running for governor share the same sentiments as Irvin.

State Sen. Darren Bailey (R-Xenia) went live on Facebook to address the issue.

“There was no plan and procedure in place. None at all. Nothing… You can’t blame COVID, because he had the whole year of 2019 to take action and do something. Friends, he did nothing,” he said on his Facebook live.

Bailey also addressed a lawsuit brought forth by one of the victim’s families.

“Unfortunately, these lawsuits are against the State of Illinois. They should be against Gov. Pritzker himself for this sickening disaster that took place,” he said.

Candidate Jesse Sullivan voiced his opinion in a short YouTube clip while standing in front of the LaSalle Veteran’s Home.

“You know, it was four years ago when J.B. Pritzker was slamming Bruce Rauner when he was running for governor, saying his failures at the Quincy Veterans’ Home made him unfit to lead. By his own definition, J.B Pritzker is unfit to lead… when I’m governor, I will lead well and defend [veterans] like we should,” Sullivan said.

Gary Rabine, a businessperson, added his two cents as well, posting on Twitter, “JB Pritzker should never be elected Governor again. Ignoring the health of our Veterans is simply unforgivable. Now he’s trying to pass the buck.”