As some right-wingers in several areas of the country (and the government) openly defy requirements on wearing masks on ideological grounds in spite of the COVID-19 outbreak, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) despairs at the prospect of his state falling into the same quagmire.
“If someone is wearing a mask, they’re not doing it to represent what political party they’re in or what candidates they support,” the Republican governor said during an emotional press briefing on Friday.
“They might be doing it because they’ve got a 5-year-old child who’s been going through cancer treatments,” he continued, voice breaking.
Burgum took a moment to collect himself before continuing: “They might have vulnerable adults in their life who currently have COVID, and they’re fighting.”
The governor begged North Dakotans to avoid “creating a divide” either “ideological or political” over the importance of wearing a mask with so many lives at stake.
“This is a, I would say, senseless dividing line,” he said. “And I would ask people to try to dial up your empathy and your understanding.”
Burgum’s plea comes as some of his fellow Republicans, including President Donald Trump, publicly refuse to wear masks that prevent the spread of COVID-19, disregarding the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendation.
Trump has reportedly told his inner circle that wearing a facial covering would send a poor message as he attempts to get the country reopened as soon as possible.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who is also a doctor, has similarly declined to wear a facial covering, arguing that he has “immunity” because he’d already had the virus.
Watch Burgum below:
In a tearful speech, Gov. @DougBurgum (R-ND) asks residents to skip the “ideological and political” debate on face masks. pic.twitter.com/BkTEDWxuYg
— The Recount (@therecount) May 22, 2020