WASHINGTON — It’s been months since the coronavirus first hit the United States, yet state Republicans continue to reject the advice of public health experts and the importance of wearing masks. Between ignoring mask mandates, failing to implement statewide safety measures, and working to override popular efforts by Democratic governors, the GOP is still playing politics with people’s lives and further delaying any possible return to normalcy. Their politicization of safety recommendations has led to everyday Americans refusing to wear masks, which in turn contributes to the spread of the virus.
- A GOP representative in Pennsylvania put out a statement defending the “unmasked community” in a mocking response to a statement in defense of transgender individuals. Despite the majority of the public’s approval of the statewide mask mandate, Republicans have decried it and have even flaunted their refusal to cover their faces in defiance. House Republicans even hid the diagnosis of one of their members with COVID-19 from Democrats in the chamber.
- After being one of the last states to close businesses during the pandemic and one of the first to end social distancing, Arizona is now a coronavirus hot spot thanks to Republicans. Several members of GOP leadership attended Donald Trump’s June rally in Phoenix without masks or social distancing, and they are still against a statewide mask order despite experts agreeing that face coverings are effective in slowing the spread of the virus.
- The coronavirus is now spreading uncontrollably in Texas after Republicans encouraged premature business reopenings, yet the GOP is still fighting against a statewide mask mandate. Texas Republicans also fought tooth and nail to keep their convention an in-person event as the coronavirus raged on, all the while refusing to expand Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of Texans during the pandemic.
- Members of the Michigan GOP have refused to wear masks around the Capitol, promoted debunked claims that Governor Gretchen Whitmer encouraged violence to enforce the mask mandate, and even called for Whitmer to be impeached for implementing stay-at-home orders and requiring masks to be worn across the state.
- Iowa is averaging nearly 500 cases per day, yet state Republicans are still attending events without wearing masks, spreading conspiracy theories that masks don’t work, and refusing to support a statewide mask mandate.
“Republicans should be taking this pandemic seriously, but unfortunately they’d rather continue to ignore medical experts,” said Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee President Jessica Post. “Their failed leadership, complete and utter disregard for science, and refusal to comply with Trump’s own CDC is putting their constituents’ lives at risk. Choosing to not wear masks in public or at events is reckless, irresponsible, and willfully ignorant of the realities of this pandemic.”