Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has had it with President Joe Biden's mask-wearing theatrics. The 58-year-old physician-turned-senator called President Biden's mask-wearing, despite the president having been fully vaccinated, "theater" with a "deleterious effect." He argued that the president's general policy of mask wearing despite being vaccinated is not supported by science and is merely "fear-mongering."
According to WND, it all began with a viral screenshot of President Biden wearing a mask during a virtual climate summit hosted by the White House. In it, the U.S. president was the only world leader wearing a mask. Others such as German Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin were visibly not.
Fact-checker Politifact reported that contrary to what many were quick to believe, the U.S. president was in fact in a room with several State Department officials, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, prompting the president to wear a mask as with his general policy.
Sen. Paul challenged the president's general policy, saying that "It's discouraging people from getting the vaccine because they're saying, well, if the vaccine doesn't mean anything, it doesn't seem to have any protective benefit, you get no benefit."
"That's the wrong attitude. But this is what's coming from Biden and the so-called scientists that he's putting forward," Sen. Paul argued, adding "there is no science behind any of this."
"It's fear-mongering," he concluded.
Instead of continuing to wear a mask in public despite being fully vaccinated, President Biden should, according to Sen. Paul, "light a torch to it and burn his mask" to encourage others to get the vaccine, Yahoo! News reported. For Sen. Paul, this would encourage more American citizens to go and get the COVID-19 vaccine and subsequently, lower vaccine hesitancy.
According to Forbes, a new Morning Consult poll revealed that Mississippi has the highest rates of people who are unwilling to get the COVID-19 vaccine at 30%, followed by Idaho at 29%, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Oklahoma at 28% each, Arkansas and Georgia at 27% each, Alabama at 26%, and Kansas and Kentucky at 25% each.
North Dakota also leads with vaccine hesitancy rates at 21% followed by Louisiana at 20%, and Montana, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Georgia at 19% each. The poll also revealed that vaccine hesitancy and refusal rates were the highest among Republicans at 41%, which is reflected in the Republican states that also show the higher rates of vaccine skepticism.
President Biden isn't the only one taking heat from Sen. Paul. WHAS11 reported last week that the Republican senator also took aim at Kentucky's Democratic Governor Andy Beshear, who offered a compromise: have 2.5 million Kentucky citizens get one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and the government would lift restrictions on businesses that serve less than 1,000 customers.
Sen. Paul called this compromise "unreasonable" and argued that Gov. Beshear is "not pointing to any science" and has merely "snatched a number out of the air."