GOP complains that Thanksgiving is 'canceled' after refusing to address pandemic

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House Republicans opposed billions for tracing, testing, and treatment and dismissed safety measures.

House Republicans are furious that public health experts are advising people to avoid large holiday gatherings to curb the spread of the coronavirus. But the same people have fought against attempts to contain the pandemic.

A growing chorus of conservative lawmakers in recent days has complained that "Democrats want to cancel Thanksgiving and Christmas" and that this is part of a government conspiracy to take away Americans' "freedom."

With a recent spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalization in much of the country, public health experts have urged people to forgo large holiday celebrations this year. Experts fear such gatherings will cause yet a bigger surge in new infections in the upcoming weeks.

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In recent months, House Republicans have — in nearly unanimous votes — opposed policies aimed at reducing the spread of the virus. They opposed a $3 trillion relief package that included $75 billion in new funding for coronavirus treatment, tracing, and testing — as well as emergency exposure controls, child care, and hazard pay for essential workers.

They also opposed — and filed a federal lawsuit to try to stop — a rule change to allow members of Congress to work from home during the pandemic, even as several members of both parties tested positive for the coronavirus.

Many Republican lawmakers also flouted social distancing and mask-wearing requirements. Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs urged in April that health officials should "be quarantined without a government paycheck and see how they like that." Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan went on Fox News in October to mock Joe Biden for taking safety precautions to avoid the virus — hours after Donald Trump announced he had tested positive.

With millions of Americans following their lead, the virus has spread uncontrollably and experts are warning of a dire winter. More than 138,000 new cases and 660 deaths were reported on Monday alone.

But House Republicans are taking no responsibility for the pandemic and its negative impact on holiday traditions:

  • Brian Babin of Texas tweeted Tuesday: "I’ve had enough of this lunacy from the liberal media. As for me and my family, we will celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior whether @CNN wants us to or not."
  • Jim Banks of Indiana tweeted in October: "Democrats want to cancel Thanksgiving and Christmas."
  • Biggs tweeted last month, "Since March, there hasn't been a 2020 holiday that health bureaucrats haven't tried to ruin with their pseudoscientific hysteria & efforts to control the masses. And just in time for Halloween, these bureaucrats are attempting to scare you into isolation for Thanksgiving."
  • Ted Budd of North Carolina tweeted Tuesday: "Nov. 7: Democrat officials celebrate in the streets. Now: Democrat officials say citizens can't celebrate Thanksgiving. Liberal politicians want freedom for themselves, but not for you. #NoLockdowns."
  • Matt Gaetz of Florida, who reportedly had the virus jus a few weeks ago, tweeted Tuesday: "I don't want to cancel Thanksgiving or Christmas. I want to cancel the lockdowns."
  • Mark Green of Tennessee tweeted Tuesday: "Logic of the left—rioters can set up autonomous zones wherever they please, but you can’t have family over for." (It does not appear that the outdoor, masked protests he referenced were a significant spreader of the virus.)
  • Jordan tweeted Monday: "Don’t cancel Thanksgiving. Don’t cancel Christmas. Cancel lockdowns."
  • Thomas Massie of Kentucky tweeted in late October, "Are there seriously people in California who will comply with the Thanksgiving/Christmas government edicts instead of relying on their own common sense and judgement?"
  • Jason Smith of Missouri tweeted last week, "So street parties and protests with strangers are good, but Thanksgiving with family is bad?" after Chicago's mayor urged cancellation of "traditional Thanksgiving plans."

On Monday, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) requested that the Senate's acting presiding officer, Alaska's Sen. Dan Sullivan, put his mask on during session. Sullivan refused, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said that Brown was a "complete ass" to even ask.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.