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Trump Retweets that Masks Represent a 'Culture of Silence, Slavery, Social Death

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Trump Retweets that Masks Represent a 'Culture of Silence, Slavery, Social Death

2020-05-28 22:36:00

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Donald Trump (Image source: Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Comons)

If Donald Trump wants his poll numbers to go up, he's going to have to find some other ways of doing it, as his current method of handling the coronavirus pandemic isn't going to show anyone that he cares. He's making it clear that he's still only looking out for himself.

The president retweeted a message that the requirement to wear a face mask during the pandemic represents a "culture of silence, slavery, and social death." Trump added the comment, "So many different viewpoints." 

But is not wearing a mask and risking everyone's health simply another viewpoint?

What he tweeted was an argument that was written by a right-wing columnist in the conservative online news outlet, The Federalist. Molly McCann's column claimed that mandating the use of face masks is "anti-American" and signals "indefinite government expansion." 

"Mandatory masks are a critical predicate conditioning us to accept abuses of our liberty," she wrote.

She made the argument that face masks aren't effective in limiting the spread of COVID-19, noting that initially, the government recommended that Americans not wear masks. She didn't mention that one of the reasons it was first mentioned to not wear masks was because there was a shortage, and officials wanted to be sure health-care workers on the front-line had enough protective gear to keep themselves safe. 

Lee Smith, a conservative columnist, shared McCann's column to Twitter and captioned it, "Masks aren't about public health but social control. Image of [presumptive Democratic candidate former Vice President Joe Biden] in black mask endorses culture of silence, slavery, and social death."

Trump retweeted Smith's tweet of McCann's column. 

Studies have shown that wearing surgical face masks does slow the spread of the virus. Homemade masks are said to reduce the spread of particles that are spread when someone sneezes, coughs, or talks and decreases the risk of infecting the people around you. Countries that have a handle on the pandemic say making face masks universal throughout helped control it.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in early April issued new guidance that recommended everyone wear a mask in public places when you can't social distance. Many governors have mandated face coverings in public places. 

That was something Trump felt he needed to retweet. He wanted to put his two cents in that it was yet another opinion on the topic of wearing a mask. However, he didn't seem to have anything to say about hitting 100,000 COVID-19 deaths until the following day.

It was known that the country was approaching that sorrowful milestone. Trump knew it would be coming at some point, yet there was no special commemoration of that milestone. We didn't have a leader recognizing the 100,000 lives that were lost. 

Before the milestone was hit, Trump tweeted, "For all of the political hacks out there, if I hadn't done my job well, and early, we would have lost 1-1/2 to 2 million people, as opposed to the 100,000 plus that looks like will be the number," the president wrote. "That's 15 to 20 times more than we will lose."

So the day before hitting the milestone of 100,000 deaths, Trump wanted to be congratulated that the number wasn't higher. 

On Wednesday the milestone was met. Trump said nothing. On Thursday, he posted to Twitter about "a very sad milestone with the coronavirus pandemic deaths reaching 100,000. To all of the families and friends of those who have passed, I want to extend my heartfelt sympathy and love for everything that these great people stood for and represent. God be with you." Too bad that wasn't said earlier.

Trump was insistent in February that the virus wasn't a threat and that the number would soon "be down to close to zero." In early March he considered leaving people on a cruise ship amongst an outbreak partially because he didn't want the number of cases in the United States to increase as people left the ship. 

"I don't need to have the numbers double because of one ship," he said.

"You would think a normal human being endowed with normal amounts of decency and empathy would take a moment when 100,000 people who are the citizens of the country of which he is president have died," said Dan Pfeiffer, a former senior adviser to former President Barack Obama. "But that is not something that has crossed Trump's mind, as far as I can tell." 

Michael Gerson was the former head of speechwriting for former President George W. Bush and is also a longtime Washington Post columnist. He recalls Bush choking up in the Oval Office after the 9-1-1 terrorist attacks in 2001.

Later, Bush was concerned he would break down in public. Gerson told him that "Americans needed to see the intensity of his own beliefs, and it was an important moment in the response to the crisis — this unvarnished emotion." 

The country has never seen that type of emotion from Donld Trump. We only see his musings about face masks.

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