DC engages in a different kind of unmasking politics
President Donald Trump honored those Americans who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation by attending Memorial Day ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery and Fort McHenry in Baltimore.
Democrat Joe Biden came out of hiding on Monday also to pay tribute to America’s fallen heroes by laying a wreath at the Delaware Memorial Bridge Veterans Memorial Park.
But the events provoked a skirmish over approaching COVID-19. Biden wore a mask, while the president did not.
Trump even tweaked Biden by sharing a tweet from Fox News political analyst Brit Hume, who posted a photo of Biden’s face almost totally obscured by the black mask and dark Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses, with the caption, “This might help explain why Trump doesn’t like to wear a mask in public.”
A mask, or the lack of one, seems to be the latest triggering event for the liberal media and Trump critics.
Just consider the last few days.
On Thursday, Trump did not wear a mask during most of the time he spent touring a Ford plant in Michigan. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat who has been roundly denounced for her heavy-handed lockdown policies, had signed an executive order mandating masks in enclosed public spaces. Ford Motor Co. also had a mask policy. In response to Trump’s maskless visit, state Attorney General Dana Nessel, also a Democrat, told CNN, “Today’s events were extremely disappointing and yet totally predictable,” referring to the mask directive as a “law” even though state lawmakers had no say in its adoption.
“The president is like a petulant child who refuses to follow the rules. And I have to say, this is no joke,” Nessel added. Trump, she declared, would not be welcome back in Michigan, saying, “He is a ridiculous person and I am ashamed to have him be president of the United States of America and I hope that the voters of Michigan will remember this when November comes.”
On Saturday, CNN struck again, reporting on the president’s golf outing at one of his properties in Virginia. The network noted Trump and those in his party did not wear masks — while outside on a warm, sunny day — although Secret Service agents nearby did.
On Tuesday, The Washington Post noted in its coverage of Trump’s visit to Fort McHenry, “Again, the president wore no mask, a deliberate defiance of guidance from his own public health officials, as he seeks to portray a picture of a country returning to normal despite the ravages of the pandemic.”
As The Guardian, a left-wing British paper noted, “Masks are becoming a political issue.”
David Marcus, a columnist at The Federalist, recently argued as much, but took an alternate path. He maintained that Trump sets a better example by not covering his face in public.
“The image of the president matters, and that is why today President Trump should not be wearing a face mask in public,” Marcus wrote.
“Scolds have been on a rampage over the past few days regarding Trump’s unwillingness to don the face covering that has come to define our current moment of Chinese virus. … What Trump is really doing is projecting American strength and health at a time when strong leadership is needed,” he added. “An image of Donald Trump wearing a protective face mask while performing his duties, behind the Resolute Desk, or in the White House briefing room would be a searing image of weakness. It would signal that the United States is so powerless against this invisible enemy sprung from China that even its president must cower behind a mask. That simply should not happen.”
Marcus, of course, is right. And the controversy over Trump’s mask-wearing highlights a most curious aspect of the coronavirus outbreak: that those deeply entrenched in The Resistance who have spent four years urging the country to defy Trump at every turn now maintain that Trump should wear a mask, if only to set a good example for the rest of us to follow.
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