“Consigning his constituents to the disease”: Trump fuels the cultural war against masks US news


NAncy Allen, 73, wears a face mask in the barn on his farm, but not when she goes to church. “There have been so many changes in what we have to do and what we shouldn’t do,” said supporter of Donald Trump of Shelby, North Carolina. “I don’t think I should be told that I should wear a mask and I don’t think the president should, unless he feels like he needs to.” “Neera Tanden, 49, was infected with the coronavirus in May, suffering from fatigue and muscle pain and sleeping for long hours. His Twitter nickname is now “Neera -Wear a Mask -Tanden”. The president of the Center for American Progress, a liberal Washington think tank, said of Trump: “His position on politicizing the use of masks is barbaric and ensures that more people will get sick and more people will die.”

“The idea that we have a president whose policies, attitude and declarations could end up killing people instead of saving their lives is frankly crazy. It is impossible to understand how reprehensible it is. ”

It is only in America, or perhaps only in America where Trump is president, that wearing face masks – an effective measure to stop the spread of the virus – can become a political declaration, the last battleground. of the country’s seemingly endless cultural wars. .

Commander-in-chief was photographed with a mask once – in May behind the scenes of a factory visit – but refuses to put one on in public and criticized his electoral opponent, Joe Biden, and journalists “Politically correct” for doing this.

When the president organized “Make America Great Again” (Maga) campaign events last month in Oklahoma and Arizona, face covers were scarce. In Black Lives Matter protests across the country, however, they were ubiquitous.

Wearing or not wearing has been fought in bars, cafes and supermarkets. Online videos show maskless customers throwing items from their cart after being asked to leave.

A Starbucks barista in San Diego who was publicly humiliated by a customer after asking him to wear a mask received more than $ 100,000 in virtual tricks after a Facebook post that attacked him went viral.

But the struggle has never been more evident than at a meeting of the Palm Beach County Commissioners in Florida. Lecturer after lecturer against mandatory masks, making comparisons with Nazi Germany and pushing the conspiracy theories linking the virus to Hillary Clinton, Bill Gates, 5G mobile networks and pedophiles. One said, “It is not Cuba, we are not in a communist nation.” Another said, “I don’t wear a mask for the same reason that I don’t wear underwear: things have to breathe.” ”

Alex Castellanos, a Republican strategist, told the Washington Post: “Wearing a mask has become a totem, a secular religious symbol. Christians wear crosses, Muslims wear hijab and members of the Church of Secular Sciences bow to the data gods wearing a mask as a symbol, demonstrating that they are the elite; smarter, more rational and morally superior to everyone. ”

But the divide no longer breaks along the usual partisan lines. An ABC News-Ipsos poll last week found that 89% of adults who left their home the previous week said they wore a mask, a jump of 55% in early April. And as the virus is now ravaging so-called republican-style states, even Trump’s allies in the Republican Party have bowed to reality.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who banned local governments a month ago from imposing fines on people who don’t wear masks in public, turned around on Thursday demanding that all Texans wear headwear face in public in counties with at least 20 cases of coronavirus positive. .

Greg Abbott, right, is followed by Vice President Mike Pence and Housing Secretary Ben Carson when they arrived for a press conference last month. Photography: Tony Gutierrez / AP

Vice President Mike Pence, who deserved contempt for avoiding a mask two months ago while visiting the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, is now on board and wearing one. Mitch McConnell, Trump’s chief law enforcement officer in the Senate, brandished a Washington Nationals baseball brand mask (as did federal public health expert Anthony Fauci, who has long advocated for wearing a mask) and said, “We shouldn’t have any stigma about wearing masks when we leave our homes and get close to other people. ”

Republican MP Liz Cheney of Wyoming tweeted a photo of his father, the former vice president, wearing a disposable mask and a cowboy hat, with the message, “Dick Cheney says WEAR A MASK #realmenwearmasks. ”

And Lamar Alexander, chair of the Senate committee on health, education, work and pensions, made a sincere appeal: “Unfortunately, this simple life-saving practice is now part of a political debate that says: if you are for Trump, you’re not wearing a mask; if you’re against Trump, you do.

“This is why I have suggested that the president should wear a mask from time to time even if there are not many occasions when it is necessary to do so. The president has millions of admirers. They would follow his example. This would help end this political debate. The stakes are too high for this to continue. ”

On Wednesday, there were signs that even Trump had understood the message. “I’m all for masks. I think the masks are good, “he told Fox Business. “People have seen me wear one. If I was in a difficult situation with people, I would absolutely do it. ”

Recalling a rare occasion when he wore a mask, Trump sought a typically archaic cultural reference: “It looked like the Lone Ranger. I have no problem with that, and if people feel good about it, they should do it. “


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