In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, and in an environment that seems it could not turn more partisan, lawmakers have found a new way to have political fights: masks. While the information is available for all Americans to choose to wear a mask to protect themselves from the virus, lawmakers have now gone into two camps on whether it should be a requirement.
Vice President Joe Biden has made a point to express he would do everything in his executive authority, if elected as president, to mandate all Americans wear a mask. Speaker Pelosi has echoed his sentiment, and has required all member of Congress in Committee hearings to wear a mask after Republican lawmakers refused to do so. President Trump has made a point to not wear a mask, and has not enforced them at political gatherings or rallies. While sparking criticism from his opponents, Vice President has come to his defense that because of federalism, the mask mandate should be determined on a state and local level.
But now, GOP lawmakers are also going on the mask offense. Particularly, Congresswoman Liz Cheney. A post of her father on social media, with the hashtag “#Realmenwearmasks,” had political pundits swirling, as they pointed to this as an example of Republicans breaking rank from the president. Senator Mitch McConnell, Senator Lamar Alexander, and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy have also urged Americans to wear a mask. Alexander noted how masks have become political, stating, “Unfortunately, this simple lifesaving practice has become part of a political debate that says if you’re for Trump, you don’t wear a mask. If you’re against Trump, you do.” Alexander continued that at times, Trump should wear a mask in order to be a positive example to his “millions of admirers.”
In contrast, Representative Jim Jordan believes it is up to the individual to decide to wear a mask as long as you practice social distancing. In what has become an issue of self-determination versus government control, mask wearing has become a fundamental part of the Coronavirus response effort, and will most likely effect the 2020 presidential campaign.
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