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30 Pics and Videos: US Reps Getting Mask Wearing Embarrassingly Wrong

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Breaking temporarily with emergency protocol, Congress reconvened on Capitol Hill this week for the purposes of passing a $484 billion supplementary coronavirus relief package intended to replenish funding streams for a series of stressed or underfunded programs included in the coronavirus relief package known as CARES.

Forced to leave the safety of social distancing in their often-sumptuous places of residence across the nation, however, America’s elected representatives did not fail to arrive in Washington prepared with their own personal protective equipment.

If public servants were being called upon to put themselves at increased risk of spreading and contracting COVID-19 in order to keep the gears of government and commerce moving — gears they themselves had demanded be halted in the first place — they were going to set a good example for the people in doing so.

The message was to be clear Thursday as, one by one, representatives in the people’s House stepped to the podium to discuss the legislation, PPE at the ready: If circumstances would have it that you cannot avoid going out in public or meeting in large groups, you should be wearing a mask and gloves, as well as taking any other medically endorsed public health precautions.

Of course, as tends to be the case with politicians, the message was not as clear as some may have liked.

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In fact, conservative political strategist Caleb Hull compiled 30 instances of C-SPAN cameras catching prominent figures like Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez misusing their masks.

Tasked with putting the advice of the world’s leading virology experts into legislative action in order to battle the worst global pandemic in a century, an astounding number of lawmakers showed a blatant disregard for that advice, removing their masks as they went to address the chamber.

Now, when researchers suggest transmission of coronavirus may be most likely to occur by way of microscopic saliva droplets spread in conversation, as The New York Times noted, one may then assume a mask may be most important when one speaks.

Apparently, however, this was lost on our congressmen and women, who decided being seen and heard in all their glory was more important than keeping their spittle off a shared podium when engaging in what may be the single action most likely to spread the coronavirus.

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Some in their number could not even be bothered to arrive with the actual medical masks clearly made available to them.

Instead, makeshift face coverings like scarves and bandanas were used.

Meanwhile, others attempted to reinvent the wheel, seeming to invent new mask-wearing strategies like allowing it to cover the mouth and not the nose.

Heck, some masks were used to cover beards, necks and even pant pockets. (Ok. Ok. That last one is just be being tongue-in-cheek.)

But seriously, does one truly believe no saliva would escape the mouth as Ocasio-Cortez goes on one of her arm-flailing tirades, ironically waving her unworn mask through the air as she speaks on the House floor?

What about when Reps. Maxine Waters, Jerry Nadler, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and others step up to speak without their masks on?

And that is without mentioning folks like Pelosi, who decided it might also be a good idea to pull down her mask and wipe her nose before touching the podium, or others, who seemed to be wearing their masks in such a way that their airways were not covered.

This embarrassing lack of self-awareness regarding matters of basic public health protocol did not, however, stop the nation’s condescending elected officials from proceeding with moralizing lectures about the importance of said protocols.

“There is more we must do,” Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said. “Not simply for those who are at greater risk, but for all of us who wear masks, not because we don’t want to be with one another, but because this pandemic has made us a risk to others.”

Of course, Hoyer could not be bothered to have his own mask on in saying so.

“We are wearing masks. I’m not wearing a mask while speaking,” the congressman said. “But as soon as I stop speaking, I’ll put a mask back on as I turn around to go among us.”

Hey, nothing inspires confidence in those decision-makers advocating indefinite closure of the U.S. economy like an inability or unwillingness to take even the most basic steps to reduce viral transmission, I guess.

Then again, whether it is an unwillingness or an inability is of little concern.

Do you think our elected representatives are just wearing these masks for show?

It leads one to ask, however: If they cannot or will not be bothered to use the mask properly, why is it on their person when the cameras are rolling? Is it just a prop?

Of course, I find the evidence in support of wearing a mask compelling. This virus is serious and it should be taken seriously. But, if our elected officials cannot or will not take the necessary precautions, what grounds do they have to stand on in demanding the rest of us do?

This type of hypocritical behavior only leads normal Americans to be less inclined to take the virus seriously.

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Andrew J. Sciascia was the supervising editor of features at The Western Journal. Having joined up as a regular contributor of opinion in 2018, he went on to cover the Barrett confirmation and 2020 presidential election for the outlet, regularly co-hosting its video podcast, "WJ Live," as well.
Andrew J. Sciascia was the supervising editor of features at The Western Journal and regularly co-hosted the outlet's video podcast, "WJ Live."

Sciascia first joined up with The Western Journal as a regular contributor of opinion in 2018, before graduating with a degree in criminal justice and political science from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where he served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper and worked briefly as a political operative with the Massachusetts Republican Party.

He covered the Barrett confirmation and 2020 presidential election for The Western Journal. His work has also appeared in The Daily Caller.




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