Right-wing media is still mocking masks even as virus takes over White House

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Prominent conservatives are still saying that COVID-19 is no big deal.

When Donald Trump returned to the White House Monday evening, he took off his mask for the assembled press — even as he appeared to struggle to breathe.

On Tuesday, he went back to minimizing the risk posed by coronavirus on Twitter.

"Flu season is coming up! Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, Despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu," Trump tweeted Tuesday morning. "Are we going to close down our Country? No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!"

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Medical professionals were horrified.

"What White House staffer would want to go to work tomorrow???" tweeted Eric Feigl-Ding, an epidemiologist with the Federation of American Scientists. "Epidemiologists just wanna vomit."

Meanwhile, conservative pundits went wild for Trump's flagrant disregard for public health.

Conservative talk radio host Ben Shapiro retweeted Trump's cavalier tweet downplaying the virus and added, "Fact check: true."

Right-wing pundit Tomi Lahren shared a video from Joe Biden's presidential campaign that called on people to keep wearing face masks to prevent the spread of the virus. The video contrasted images of Trump ripping off his mask with Biden putting his on.

"Might as well wear a purse with that mask, Joe," Lahren wrote.

On Tuesday, Fox News host Laura Ingraham mocked Biden for advocating mask-wearing.

During a town hall hosted by NBC News in Miami on Monday night, Biden said that he doesn't believe a president can singlehandedly impose a national mask mandate, but added that he would require people to wear masks on federal property.

"As president of the United States, I would make a federal mandate on federal property, federal buildings you must wear a mask, period, and you must be social distanced," Biden said.

Fox News host Laura Ingraham taunted Biden for his statement.

"Biden finally admits he doesn't have the power to do his national mask mandate," Ingraham tweeted on Tuesday. "Now talk about lockdowns."

Ingraham's colleagues have joined in on her attempts to disparage Democratic officials who seek to follow recommended safety guidelines.

After Trump's hospitalization on Friday, Fox News host Jeanine Pirro gave credence to the conspiracy theory that the virus is little more than a hoax intended to "scare" Americans. On Sunday, Pirro tweeted that New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio's efforts to contain the virus amounted to "gloom and doom."

"As @realDonaldTrump fights COVID and fights to get out of #WalterReedHospital BOZO #DeBlasio fights to shut down NYC to scare New Yorkers, stop them from working and continue the gloom and doom of the DNC," Pirro tweeted.

Conservative blogger Matt Walsh waxed poetic about the pandemic, arguing that health guidelines are no more than "psychological shields" meant to prevent people from confronting their own mortality.

Walsh called states' lockdown measures — which have saved millions of lives — "futile and ridiculous." By Walsh's thinking, human beings cannot bear to face mortality, so they invent methods to ignore "the reality of death."

"That's what most of the masking and lockdown stuff is about," Walsh tweeted. "They're psychological shields."

After all, we all die in the end. Why bother trying to stop millions of people from dying unnecessarily?

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.