GOP freshman Rep. Madison Cawthorn showed up this week to a local school board meeting in his North Carolina district and ripped members for re-implementing a mask mandate for all students ahead of the coming academic year.
In an address to the Buncombe County School Board in Asheville, Cawthorn drew early laughs when he mockingly said that board members should consider “running for federal office” because they would “fit in very well in Washington, D.C.”
“You have muzzled (parents’) voices just like you have muzzled our children,” Cawthorn continued.
“You passed this mask mandate without input from those who would hold you accountable because you knew it was wrong. You knew it would never withstand the scrutiny of the public,” he added.
“I’ve witnessed swampy backdoor tactics from corrupt bureaucrats in Washington D.C., but what you have done here today puts that all to shame,” the North Carolina Republican noted further.
“You have sacrificed the social, emotional, and psychological development of our children on the altar of wokeness,” Cawthorn told the members. “This school board has no right to rip personal responsibility away from the hands of its citizens.
“The family should always come before the government. You do not know better than the parents of my district. You do not have a right to slam down mandates upon children of Buncombe County that fly in the face of scientific reasoning,” he added.
Cawthorn’s comments come on the heels of sometimes conflicting recommendations and information from the Biden administration regarding mask-wearing for and around children as they prepare to return to in-person learning in a few weeks when the new academic year begins.
Earlier this week, National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins said during a CNN interview that parents of school-aged children under 12 should wear masks around them at home because they’re not going to be vaccinated.
“Parents of unvaccinated kids should be thoughtful about it, and the recommendation is to wear masks there, as well,” Collins said during an appearance on CNN’s “New Day.”
“I know that’s uncomfortable, I know that seems weird, but it’s the best way to protect your kids,” Collins added.
But later in the day, the nation’s top immunologist, Dr. Anthony Fauci, appeared on a separate CNN program to refute his boss.
“It’s very simple. He misspoke. He’s a person of high integrity and he came out with the tweet and said, ‘I apologize, I misspoke, I got it wrong,’” he told host Erin Burnett.
“Parents do not need to wear masks in their own home. That is the right answer. Dr. Collins said he misspoke, and I give him great credit for admitting it very, very quickly,” Fauci added.
NIH chief’s ‘misspeak’ on parents wearing masks at home goes too far, even for Fauci https://t.co/7kFFhGe83B pic.twitter.com/5YmGOOnH3W
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) August 4, 2021
Since then, pushback from lawmakers, mostly Republicans, has risen around the country.
In Florida, GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis has pushed back hard on any new mask recommendations emanating from Washington, D.C., signing an order preventing state schools from implementing a mandate and leaving it up to parents to decide if they want their kids to mask.
“We can either have a free society or we can have a biomedical security state, and I can tell you, Florida, we’re a free state,” he said in public remarks earlier this week.
“People are going to be free to choose to make their own decisions about themselves, about their families, about their kids’ education and about putting food on the table,” he said.
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