It is difficult to determine what Donald Trump achieved during his disastrous presidency. Let’s see: ability to hire fascists, racists and other unpolished authoritarian doorknobs to positions of extreme power? His resumes were given new life. Do not shame. Peerless. Grift? To be determined by different courts. To be determined by various courts. Accomplished it.
Trump was a master at discrediting simple mask-wearing during a deadly pandemic. Trump did more than just downplay the crisis during his 2020 campaign, when mask-wearing could make a significant difference in preventing the spread COVID-19.
It’s not too outrageous, mind you. Just a hint of poison in every mention masks. “Maybe they’re great, and maybe they’re just good,” he saidOn August 13, 2020. “Maybe they’re not so good.” On May 21, 2020, it was, “I wore one in the back area, I didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it,” as if the mask was a symbol of shameful weakness. “They suggested for a period of time, but this is voluntary,” he said of wearing masks on April 3, 2020. “I don’t think I’m going to be doing it.”
The most galling element of Trump’s constant anti-mask rhetoric walked hand in hand with the generalized nature of his brazen hypocrisy. Masks are not designed to protect YouThey are there for the protection of others From you if you are infected and don’t know it. Wearing a mask, therefore, is by definition a selfless act … and Trump doesn’t do selfless. He doesn’t even understand it.
The hypocrisy? The main reason COVID spread so quickly is because of the innumerable asymptomatic individuals who are seen wandering around the country’s crowded areas. Trump considers himself the champion of the country’s evangelical Christians — and they certainly agree — yet compelling people to do something in service to their neighbor — “Do unto others etc.” — was beyond his ken. His gospel is mask-shaming and his preaching likely led to hundreds of thousands of people being buried young. It didn’t have to be that way, as it has been repeatedly stated.
Trump’s other area of poor excellence was his inability to fill the courts with unqualified far-right ideologues who would occupy the bench for four decades. Mitch McConnell was instrumental to ramming hundreds upon hundreds of these people onto federal courts, including three (!!!). Trump deserves the credit for this feat, even though he was appointed to the Supreme Court.
This fact dovetailed seamlessly with Trump’s manufactured mask fiasco on Monday, when U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle ofThe Middle District of Florida struck down federal mask mandates in the area of travel, and specifically on airlines and public transit. “The ruling gives airports, mass transit systems, airlines and ride-hailing services the option to keep mask rules or ditch them entirely,” reports the Associated Press, “resulting in rules that vary by city and mode of transportation. Passengers on an United Airlines flight from Houston to Kennedy Airport, for instance, could ditch their masks at their departing airport and on the plane, but have to put them back on once they land in New York or take a subway.”
And how is this possible, even though another COVID variant has been introduced to the land? Who is Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle She is, above all things, one of the judges Trump rammed into court system. Esquire blogger Charles P. Pierce explains succinctly:
Judge Mizelle is the Federalist Society’s representative who sent the pneumatic tube from its labs to Washington. She clerked for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and was rated as “not qualified” by the American Bar Association.
She was 33 years old when she was nominated, and was confirmed as the 2020 lame duck session was ending. She was eight years out from law school and had never tried any case. Through his connection to Stephen Miller, a noted Constitution devotee, her husband was selected to be acting general counsel at Department of Homeland Security. She had no previous experience, but her resume was impressive.
Reaction to Mizelle’s mandate ruling was swift. “Americans greeted the lifting of mask mandates on planes, trains, buses, and public transit with a mixture of joy, relief and alarm on Tuesday, marking an abrupt end to a directive that had been widely in place in various forms for nearly two years,” reports The New York Times. “Some airline passengers received the news in airports or in flight, sharing celebratory photos and videos on social media. That elation was accompanied by nervousness and dread from other people who are fearful that the end of the mandate would increasingly expose them and their loved ones to the coronavirus as a new variant is driving up case counts around the United States.”
Trump’s vast garden of hand-selected far-right activist judges may not have helped him claw his way back into office after the election (yet), but they are paying bully dividends in the day-by-day push to reorder the laws of the nation in service to some dystopian far-right un-future. Today, it’s the mangling of the mask mandate, leaving millions once again confused as to how to properly protect themselves. It grants the Republicans another incendiary “culture war” weaponto vote in an election year.
What Texas is doing Roe v. Wade — tailoring lawsuits against choice laws to please the conservative majority on the high court — other right-wing activists have done with masks. This case accordingTo the Guardian, “was filed in July 2021 by two plaintiffs and the Health Freedom Defense Fund, a group that has initiated lawsuits against vaccine and mask mandates in several school districts and municipalities. The group’s leader, Leslie Manookian, has appeared at anti-vaccine and anti-mask protests and produced a film that purported to examine the link between vaccines and autism.”
The autism link and all those involved, including the author, were comprehensibly disproved and dismissed. Yet, here we are.
Congress is still grappling with the B.A.2 Subvariant. much-needed fundingTrump has ruled that vaccines and treatment are not available. The plan is coming together nicely, isn’t it.