RNC Hid $14k Mask Purchases — While Donald Trump Spread Anti-Mask Sentiment
A federal disclosure report appears to show that Republicans bought thousands of dollars worth of face masks to protect against the spread of COVID-19, but hid the purchase, labeling it as a ‘building maintenance’ expense. Meanwhile, Donald Trump avoided wearing a mask in public, and Republicans fought against mask mandates across the country.
Political Tribune reports that in Federal disclosure forms, four companies that are listed as having sold the RNC materials for building maintenance also sell face masks that can be used to limit the spread of COVID-19. Two of these companies have actually already confirmed that they sold the RNC these cloth covers for coronavirus protection — one purchase in the amount of $4,500, and the other at $9,300, totaling almost $14k in confirmed purchases.
Earlier this week, Donald Trump tweeted a photo of himself wearing a mask, and said that mask-wearing is a very patriotic behavior.
We are United in our effort to defeat the Invisible China Virus, and many people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask when you can’t socially distance. There is nobody more Patriotic than me, your favorite President! pic.twitter.com/iQOd1whktN
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 20, 2020
However, his administration has not been encouraging mask-wearing throughout the crisis. In the clip below, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany repeats that masks are an individual choice. At Trump’s Tulsa rally, masks were not required, and social distancing recommendations were negated by the Trump team.
On the White House's recommendation for wearing masks in public as parts of the country reopen, Press Sec. Kayleigh McEnany tells @jonkarl "it's recommended," but adds that it is "the choice of the individual." https://t.co/9aFtVoY4XL pic.twitter.com/BASGhWatPP
— ABC News (@ABC) May 6, 2020
Moreover, Donald Trump openly mocked Joe Biden for wearing a mask in public, and McEnany doubled down on that in a press conference.
Republican elected officials have fought against mandates that would require people to wear masks in public. For instance, in Georgia, Governor Brian Kemp is actually forbidding individual cities from passing their own mask mandates.
Last month, Congressional Republicans — specifically those on the coronavirus subcommittee — had to be warned that they would not be allowed to speak if they didn’t wear masks, after every single Republican on the committee showed up to a meeting without a face covering, the Guardian reports.
It’s not clear whether these masks purchases are being used more privately, or were being reserved for a time when Republicans felt comfortable wearing them in public, or in case they were needed for the RNC convention in August. What is clear is that lawmakers purchase thousands of dollars worth of cloth masks, while their party, and particularly the president, publicly opposed masking as a safety requirement.