The cultural divide over wearing a mask is growing as Donald Trump and his supporters continue to weaponize something that is meant to save lives. While the CDC has recommended wearing a face covering, Trump has sent a clear message out that he doesn’t like masks. And some of his supporters have helped him politicize masks this week. The president retweeted a post from Fox News’ Brit Hume mocking Joe Biden for wearing a mask. Then on Wednesday, according to iHeart radio, Rush Limbaugh remarked:
“Joe Biden and the Democrat Party, all these mask-wearing freaks demanding that you use the symbol of fear, demanding that everybody wear the symbol of fear.”
Limbaugh continued with his flawed analogy: “It’s kind of like the old red AIDS ribbon. You put the AIDS ribbon on, and what does it say? Nothing! It says, “I’m better than you; I care. You don’t care because you’re not wearing this ribbon. This red ribbon makes me a better person than you!” Well, that’s how they’re using the mask now.”
Ribbons won’t stop HIV but a mask could help protect someone from coronavirus.
Meanwhile, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is taking the opposite stance. Thursday the Democrat announced, “Today I am signing an Executive Order authorizing businesses to deny entry to those who do not wear masks or face-coverings. No mask – No entry.” Cuomo was joined by actors Chris Rock and Rosie Perez to promote wearing masks. Perez said she tries to add a little levity to the situation using the title of one of the best-known movies that she starred in, “Hey do the right thing, put your mask on people.”
Rosie Perez and Chris Rock appeared at Gov. Cuomo’s press conference today to remind New Yorkers to wear a mask pic.twitter.com/I28mhKYbjW
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) May 28, 2020
"In Brooklyn I'm seeing probably 40% of people wearing a mask," Chris Rock says during NY Gov. Cuomo’s presser. “The kids really aren't wearing the mask. It's sad that our health has become a political issue. It’s a status symbol almost to not wear a mask” https://t.co/qDjBrx9AGO pic.twitter.com/ojYNNWIsK6
— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 28, 2020
And then there’s the story of a tavern in Elgin, Texas, outside Austin. Customers who wear masks are being denied entry. The Austin Statesman writes:
This week, a sign was posted outside the Liberty Tree Tavern in downtown Elgin as the bar navigates reopening after the coronavirus pandemic.
“Due to our concern for our customers, if they FEEL (not think) that they need to wear a mask, they should stay at home until they FEEL that it’s safe to be in public without one. Sorry, no masks allowed,” the posting read.
‘Sorry, no masks allowed:’ Elgin bar resists coronavirus guidance https://t.co/EjVzUKfqAl
— Austin Statesman (@statesman) May 28, 2020
And there’s this sign posted on the door of Alvin’s, a gas station and convenience store in Manchester, Kentucky.
Voluntarily getting a fatal pathogen to own the libs. pic.twitter.com/wo5dik36cn
— William LeGate (@williamlegate) May 25, 2020
After receiving criticism over the policy, The Lexington Herald-Leader later said the business called the sign a joke.
Finally, this video from the Gulf Shores in Alabama earlier this week asks a man why he wasn’t wearing a mask. He promptly cited Trump saying, “If he’s not wearing a mask, I’m not wearing a mask, If he’s not worried, I’m not worried.”
Bro: “if he’s not wearing a mask I’m not gonna wear a mask.”
Reporter: “the president?”
Leadership matters. pic.twitter.com/RPYwkSrqNe
— Jason Sparks (@sparksjls) May 27, 2020
Trump’s issue with masks most likely isn’t doing him any favors. Business Insider found that “polling has repeatedly shown that most Americans — including Republicans and Trump’s supporters — are in favor of the practice.” The publication compiled several polls, including one from Huffington Post and YouGov that found that “83% of Americans and 76% of Republicans say they believe wearing a mask in public is not a sign of weakness.”