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Wednesday, March 9, 2022

OPINION:

Just before President Biden’s State of the Union address last week, the science behind mask mandates and forced lockdowns — not to mention shuttering down businesses, along with music and sports venues — suddenly changed.

Yup. With the omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, still swooping around America, Democrats who control the House and Senate decided to do away with mandatory masks in the Capitol. Poof, gone. 


So Mr. Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and most other Democrats showed up without masks.

The sudden change of heart — not based at all on science — prompted Sen. Ted Cruz to mock the move as a “State of the Union Miracle.” Other wags took to social media to flashback to Democrats haranguing Republicans for opposing mask mandates.

Back in July, Mrs. Pelosi reportedly maligned Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy after he criticized a mask mandate in the House. “He’s such a moron,” Mrs. Pelosi said about her fellow California lawmaker.

The decision to do away with masks — just when 535 lawmakers, along with Cabinet members and Supreme Court justices gathered in a relatively small Capitol chamber — drew mockery on social media.

“Biden entered Congress with no mask when he wore a mask walking by himself on the White House lawn yesterday? Are we still supposed to believe this is all about science?” Media Research Center President Brent Bozell wrote on Twitter.

Republican strategist Greg Price joked, “I just love science,” adding two photos — one of Mr. Biden masked up, and another of him mingling at the State of the Union.

“Just think … Biden needed a mask by himself yesterday on the White House lawn alone … but not tonight when he’s yelling in a room full of people. I had NO IDEA that COVID could end THAT FAST!” Washington Times columnist Tim Young tweeted.

Even the liberal bastion “Saturday Night Live” jumped into the fray to mock the sudden change. In a skit where everyone discussed the pandemic, comedian John Mulaney asked: “Did any of us ever need the mask?” 

“The science changed!” cast member Aidy Bryant said as a way of defending the ever-changing stance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “How does science … change?” fellow cast member Kenan Thompson wondered. 

After quickly clarifying that he wasn’t “anti-mask,” Mr. Thompson says that it was OK and that they could talk about the “incredibly complicated and emotional topic.”

Another cast member, Kate McKinnon, said she was relieved to be vaccinated, while Mr. Mulaney cautioned her to be “careful.”

Then he said: “Did I have to dump my oldest friend just because he didn’t get … a booster?”  

“At least we have the CDC, I mean, they haven’t always been perfect, but the science changed,” Ms. Bryant said near the skit’s end. Then Mr. Thompson says glumly, “When I make a mistake at work, I don’t get to say ‘the science changed.’”

The “science” suddenly started to change about the time truckers in Canada shut down bridges — along with most of downtown Ottawa — demanding that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lift draconian measures that were crushing their livelihoods.

That spawned a movement in the U.S. dubbed the “People’s Convoy” — which culminated as a 30-mile-long convoy that jammed up the Washington Beltway this week. 

Right after the birth of the U.S. movement, Democrat-led states across the country suddenly announced plans to drop their mask mandates, prompting Republicans are claiming politics are at play. New Jersey, New York, California, Oregon, Connecticut and Delaware all announced plans to roll back their mask requirements.  

That sudden move drew more scorn, with some saying their motivation was clear.

“I’d love to see whatever internal polling went around the Democrat Party last week — it’s certainly no coincidence that Democrat-run states are dropping mandates as fast as they can!” Rep. Kevin Hern, Oklahoma Republican, told DailyMail.com. 

But back to Mr. Cruz, who asked some serious questions in January about the supposed “science” behind the endless lockdowns and mask mandates, even as a slew of hypocritical Democrats — some of whom had levied mask mandates — were caught flouting their own rules.

“Just once, I’d like to see a reporter say to Joe Biden when he stands at the damn podium in the White House without a mask, ‘Mr. President, why aren’t you wearing a mask?’” Mr. Cruz told reporters. “Just once, I’d like to see you say to Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, when she stands at the podium with no mask, ‘Ms. Psaki, why don’t you have a mask?’ The questions are only directed at one side, and I got to say that the American people see the hypocrisy.”

Hypocrisy indeed. One thing for thee, another for me. And then, poof, it’s all gone. 

But hey, that’s “science,” right?

• Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at josephcurl@gmail.com and on Twitter @josephcurl.

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