OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki is among those that appear to be triggered by a court’s decision to end the mask mandate on airplanes on other means of travel.
On Monday, Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump, struck down the mandate that required masks to be worn on airplanes, trains, buses and other public transportation.
The ruling prompted attacks on both the decision and the judge herself, from Democrats who disagreed with the ruling.
The New York Times reported.
In her ruling, Judge Mizelle adopted a narrow interpretation of the authority Congress granted to the C.D.C. to issue rules aimed at preventing the interstate spread of communicable diseases.
The law says the agency may take such measures as it deems “necessary,” and provides a list of examples, like “sanitation.” The judge wrote that this power was limited to things like cleaning property — not requiring people to take hygienic steps.
“If Congress intended this definition, the power bestowed on the C.D.C. would be breathtaking,” she wrote. “And it certainly would not be limited to modest measures of ‘sanitation’ like masks.”
The administration quickly announced that it would appeal the decision.
The Justice Department and the C.D.C. “disagree with the district court’s decision and will appeal, subject to C.D.C.’s conclusion that the order remains necessary for public health,” it said.
On Tuesday, Psaki was asked about the response video of people celebrating on airplanes that have been shared on the Internet and if she thought that meant Americans have had it with the mandates.
“I understand that the judge’s ruling is something that, you know, independent judiciary has made. However, you saw a lot of Americans, you know, immediately pulling off their masks in airplanes, very happy about the change. Is the administration concerned that the public is moving on, you know, without the CDC and that the country is in a different place where the administration is in?” a reporter asked her aboard Air Force One.
“Well, I would note, while I’ve seen those videos, anecdotes are not data. Right? And certainly, that does tell a part of the story. But we don’t make these decisions based on politics or based on the political whims on a plane or even in a poll,” the press secretary said.
“But I would note: In polls, they — and data — lengthier data — there are still a lot of people in this country who still want to have masks in place — either they have immunocompromised relatives, they have kids under five, whatever it may be. So in the — even on the pure politics, I don’t think there’s a concrete story at this point,” she said.
She was not alone as many took to Twitter to express their disdain with the decision.
“Wearing my mask no matter what non-scientists tell me I can do,” Valerie Jarrett said on Twitter as if someone told her that she could not wear a mask.
Wearing my mask no matter what non-scientists tell me I can do. pic.twitter.com/qel4mAG9H5
— Valerie Jarrett (@ValerieJarrett) April 19, 2022
“The decision by the young Trump-appointed federal judge ending the mask mandate in travel shows the federal judiciary has turned into the Senate. Democratic and Republican judges live in different worlds and rule differently,” CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said.
The decision by the young Trump-appointed federal judge ending the mask mandate in travel shows the federal judiciary has turned into the Senate. Democratic and Republican judges live in different worlds and rule differently.
— Jeffrey Toobin (@JeffreyToobin) April 19, 2022
“A prediction about masking: Soon we’ll be seeing many incidents in which those who choose to protect themselves with KN95s etc face harassment, even violence. Because this was never about freedom,” New York Times columnist Paul Krugman said.
A prediction about masking: Soon we'll be seeing many incidents in which those who choose to protect themselves with KN95s etc face harassment, even violence. Because this was never about freedom.
— Paul Krugman (@paulkrugman) April 19, 2022
“I will not fly without a mask,” actress Rosanna Arquette said.
I will not fly without a mask
— ✌🏼rosanna arquette (@RoArquette) April 19, 2022
So let me get this straight: wearing a mask to save lives during a pandemic should be a personal choice, but what a pregnant person does with their own body should be mandated by the government?
— Robert Reich (@RBReich) April 19, 2022
“So let me get this straight: wearing a mask to save lives during a pandemic should be a personal choice, but what a pregnant person does with their own body should be mandated by the government?” Robert Reich said.