Senate Republicans have released a video wishing their voters a Merry Christmas and promoting social distancing measures over the holidays. Since several of the senators starring in the piece have engaged in various degrees of COVID-19 denial over the past year, it’s not being received well.
“Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!” Senator Joni Ernst declares, promising viewers that Christmas can still be fun, even if it “look[s] a little different this year.” In September, Ernst (who joined her coworkers in getting vaccinated this week) was telling crowds at campaign stops that she’s “skeptical” about the numbers reported, and suggesting that doctors and hospitals are lying about patients’ causes of death to pad their own pockets, as reported by Washington Post at the time.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from @SenateGOP!
By following a few simple guidelines, we don’t have to let the coronavirus be the Grinch that steals Christmas. pic.twitter.com/336kozv3wJ
— Joni Ernst (@SenJoniErnst) December 24, 2020
Mississippi Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, who according to Mississippi Today said in March that the pandemic would be over in two weeks, can be seen adding a glittery sequined mask to an elf doll, as she agrees that this year will take more creativity. (Credit where it’s due — she does appear in a mask herself later in the video, and has been noted as one of the GOP electorate who has set an example for wearing masks.
Then there’s Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina. He actually spoke up after the Republican National Convention this year to say he regretted not wearing a mask while at the White House, reports Politico. However, any hindsight he may have boasted after the RNC isn’t preventing him from encouraging families to get together for Christmas. “We can still enjoy all the time with family and friends, socially distanced,” he assures us, as he shows off a tray of gingerbread cookies wearing icing masks.
FLorida’s Rick Scott, who, according to the Orlando Sentinel, was one of only half a dozen Senators who voted this week against a COVID-19 relief bill that would include direct checks to taxpayers, isn’t opposed to a small gift, apparently — he passes South Carolina’s Tim Scott a gift-wrapped bottle of hand sanitizer.
Senator Tim Scott stands in contrast to many Republican leaders in that he has promoted mask-wearing, and specifically worked in outreach to minority communities that could be ore heavily affected by the virus.
I wear a mask for my loved ones and college football 🇺🇸🏈
(Photo Credit: The Washington Post Magazine) pic.twitter.com/b8a2kbw1Op
— Tim Scott (@SenatorTimScott) August 21, 2020
Marsha Blackburn, who flew with Trump to the Presidential Debate before he tested positive for COVID-19, and fortunately tested negative despite her exposure, and Ted Cruz, who, as reported by MSNBC, predicted that restrictions and protections would be lifted immediately after Joe Biden’s election win, each make an appearance.
Though Senator Ernst returns to urge everyone to “follow a few simple rules,” and enjoy the holidays, most of the legislators appearing in the clip have actively worked against any such ‘rules,’ in many cases even pushing conspiracy theories that suggest COVID-19 is overblown and exaggerated.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com