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‘What A Disgrace’: Mitt Romney Votes Against Lifting Mask Mandates For Preschool-Age Kids

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney went out of his way again to separate himself from his party on Tuesday, voting with Democrats to leave in place a mask mandate for two-year-old kids participating in the federally-subsidized Head Start program.

Currently, the Biden administration mandates “universal masking for all individuals two years of age and older” who are taking part in the government-run preschool program. The mandate also requires all employees, contractors, and volunteers who come in contact with kids to have the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Daily Wire notes:

An amendment offered by Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) to the PREVENT Pandemics Act would “prevent HHS from implementing or enforcing their regulations regarding mask or vaccination protections in the Head Start program again.”

Video footage of the vote shows Romney became the only Republican member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee to vote against the measure — including Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Susan Collins (R-ME), who frequently deviate from the Republican mainstream. The former Republican standard bearer joined all HELP committee Democrats in striking down Braun’s amendment by a 12-10 vote.

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Romney’s ‘no’ vote led to heaps of criticism from conservatives online.

“What a disgrace,” Donald Trump Jr. tweeted along with the video of the proceedings.

“Shame on @MittRomney and every senator in this room who just voted to keep toddlers in masks,” added Kelsey Bolar of the Independent Women’s Forum. “I am happy to bring my 2-year-old to meet with any one of you to show you how insane it is to ask parents to cover their 2-year-olds faces with a worthless piece of cloth.”

By voting with Democrats, Romney “helped cement the United States’ status as a global outlier on mask policy,” The Daily Wire added.

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The outlet notes that the World Health Organization has also declared: “Children aged 5 years and under do not need to wear a mask.” (Emphasis is in original). Also, the European Center for Disease Control says that the wearing of masks is “not recommended for students” in primary school, which exempts all kids under 12 years of age.

The outlet adds:

Numerous studies have revealed the dearth of science behind mask mandates for children, especially toddlers. Even if masking were the best option, it would be impossible to find a respirator that fits children that young. Public health experts have admitted that “cloth masks are not appropriate for this pandemic,” and while researchers believe that N95 respirators offer the greatest protection against the transmission of COVID-19, the FDA notes that “N95 respirators are not designed for children … a proper fit cannot be achieved on children.”

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Democratic governors began rolling back local mask mandates earlier this year, stating that “the science has changed.” Still, 37% of all U.S. public school districts still require compulsory masking of all students.

The Utah Republican’s lone GOP vote against rescinding the mask mandate was just his latest deviation from his party. On Tuesday, Romney cast a “no” vote on a bill introduced by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to get rid of mask mandates on public transportation.

The measure actually gained wide bipartisan support, resulting in a 57-40 vote in the upper chamber with eight Dems voting in favor. But again, Romney was the only GOP senator to vote against it.

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