United We Mask: GOPers View Mask-Wearing As Key To Reopening Economy

WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES - MAY 05, 2020: U.S. Senator, Rick Scott (R-FL) wearing a face mask as a precaution against covid 19.
WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES - MAY 05, 2020: U.S. Senator, Rick Scott (R-FL) wearing a face mask as a precaution against covid 19.- PHOTOGRAPH BY Michael Brochstein / Echoes Wire/ Barcroft Studios / Future Publishing (P... WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES - MAY 05, 2020: U.S. Senator, Rick Scott (R-FL) wearing a face mask as a precaution against covid 19.- PHOTOGRAPH BY Michael Brochstein / Echoes Wire/ Barcroft Studios / Future Publishing (Photo credit should read Michael Brochstein / Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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May 24, 2020 5:35 p.m.
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Three prominent Republicans bolstered North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum’s (R) emotional plea to end the “political” divide on mask-wearing requirements during Sunday morning interviews.

Unlike President Trump’s refusal to wear a mask while touring a Ford plant outside of Michigan on Thursday — despite White House staffers being ordered to do so after two aides tested positive for the novel coronavirus earlier this month — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R), Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) are encouraging the public to take precautions such as mask-wearing seriously as states begin easing coronavirus restrictions over Memorial Day weekend.

All three Republicans also expressed the need to reopen the economy while promoting efforts to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Here’s how they weighed in on the mask-wearing debate:

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R)

After telling MSNBC’s Chuck Todd that his state is promoting mask-wearing and social distancing as it begins to open up the economy, DeWine agreed that Burgum’s mask-wearing plea was “spot on.”

“I’ve watched that clip a couple of times,” DeWine said. “And this is not about politics, this is not about whether you’re liberal or conservative, left or right, Republican, Democrat. We wear the mask, and it’s been very clear what the studies have shown, you wear the mask not to protect yourself so much as to protect others.”

DeWine later pointed out the every employee in his state is ordered to wear a mask and that store customers are expected to comply with the order as well, before adding that it’s “a risk if we don’t open up the economy.”

“We want to continue to up that throughout the state because it is really what we need as we open up the economy,” DeWine said. “Look, Chuck, this is a risk. But it’s also a risk if we don’t open up the economy, all the downsides of not opening the economy. We can do both these things.”

Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL)

Scott told CNN’s Dana Bash that “we have to open the economy” and that in order to do so safely, it is “absolutely” necessary to take precautions such as wearing a mask and social distancing.

The Florida senator then quickly added that wearing a mask doesn’t translate to “people telling us how to lead our lives every day.”

“Do I believe people ought to wear masks? Yes, I do believe people ought to wear masks. Do I believe people ought to social distance? Yes, I believe they ought to social distance. Do we need the President and governors and all the local officials that tell us how to lead our lives every day? No,” Scott said. “We will figure this out. We want to keep our family safe. We want to keep our friends safe. And we’re going to do this in a safe manner.”

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R)

Hutchinson defended the decision to reopen all stores, restaurants, movie theaters and gyms at reduced capacity in his state during an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” saying that his “thinking is that we have to manage the risk.”

The Arkansas governor then added that his state takes the novel coronavirus outbreak “very seriously” before arguing that forcing people to “cloister” themselves at home is “just contrary to the American spirit.”

Hutchinson, who said during a Thursday press conference that customers who refuse to follow mask rules are “very selfish,” went on to reiterate the need to “manage the risk” through “discipline.”

“You know, you can be in an automobile and it’s very risky, but you manage the risk by wearing a seat belt,” Hutchinson said, referring to guidelines aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19. “At first, everyone resisted wearing a seat belt and said, well, that’s a matter of freedom. Well, it is, but it’s also a matter of safety.”

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