Alabama’s Doug Jones: Senator launches ad-supported masks

The announcement is the latest example of how Congress’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has become a political problem. Jones is considered the most vulnerable incumbent Democratic senator in 2020.

“The Covid crisis has shown how our health depends on each other, on our neighbors, our loved ones, our coworkers,” says Jones. “Wearing masks and social distancing is about protecting each other, our parents and grandparents, the friend who has diabetes or a heart condition we didn’t know about, the frontline workers who are at risk, and so our little ones Companies open up safely and kick-start our economy. “

“We do this for each other,” he adds at the end, putting on a mask.

Jones’ announcement comes amid a debate within the Republican Party about how to encourage Americans to be safe during the pandemic. Jones’ campaign has booked the ad in the Montgomery media market this week, at a cost of approximately $ 226,000, according to the Campaign Media Analysis Group.

The mask has become a symbol of one’s political loyalty during the pandemic, pitting some Trump supporters against those who take the advice of healthcare experts. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the top Republican on the Senate Health Committee, and some top health care officials in the Trump administration have encouraged using a mask as a way to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Alexander urged Trump on Tuesday to “just get rid of this mask policy,” adding that it “hurts the country and does not help it.” Alexander, who is retiring after this period, said the debate “makes no sense” because Trump supporters would help the president win reelection if they wore masks to contain the disease and reopen the economy sooner.

If the Trump administration does not require masks, who is it?

“If you are pro-Trump, you don’t wear a mask, and if you are anti-Trump, you are more likely to wear a mask,” he said. “But that doesn’t make sense.”

Trump has continued to defy recommendations from health experts and has shown reluctance to wear a mask in public, telling the Wall Street Journal that it is “a double-edged sword” that could increase the likelihood of people becoming infected. , as users fret and may have a false sense of security. The President also suggested that some masks be used as an expression of opposition to him.

Vice President Mike Pence was asked Tuesday if the Trump administration is sending inconsistent public health messages. “The President has worn a mask in public, just like me, and he has heard strong encouragement about wearing masks,” he replied. “But let me say that we believe Americans should wear a mask whenever state and local authorities indicate that social distancing is appropriate, or when social distancing is not possible. And we will continue to deliver that message.”

Overall, 65% of adults say they have worn masks “in stores or other businesses all or most of the time in the past month,” according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center. But only 49% of conservative Republicans said they had used them “all or most of the time in the past month,” compared to 60% of moderate Republicans and 83% of liberal Democrats.

Alabama Republican Party President Terry Lathan told CNN that she wears a mask “whenever possible in public,” but that “this issue will find people on both sides of the debate.”

“My biggest observation is that there seems to be a lot of mask embarrassment that adds more division,” he wrote in an email. “People are looking at the Covid data, updates, and situation. They are making their own decisions. The time spent in the mask wars is probably interesting to many, but does it change your mind? There’s nothing wrong with the reminders to wear masks, but eventually it’s the individual’s choice. “

Lathan said Jones’s announcement is a “good-mask public service announcement,” but it omits Jones’s voting record, which he said attacks against the will of the majority of Alabamians, including the vote to impeach the president. after his impeachment, against confirmation now, Supreme Court judge Brett Kavanaugh and against the 2017 tax reform bill passed by the Senate in a party line vote.

“You cannot mask these events in the Trump state with the highest approval in the nation,” he added.

Jones is running in a state that Trump won in 2016 by nearly 30 points. In 2017, Jones beat Roy Moore, a twice-fired state Supreme Court judge accused of sexually assaulting teens, by one and a half points. He will face a tougher opponent in 2020. On July 14, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who held the Senate seat for 20 years, faces former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville, who boasts of Trump’s backing in the Republican runoff election. . The Jones, Sessions and Tuberville campaigns did not respond to requests for comment on the new announcement.
In the absence of a state mandate and amid an increase in cases, some cities and counties in Alabama have issued stricter guidance. In Jefferson County, the home of Birmingham and the state’s most populous county, a mandatory face-covering order reportedly went into effect Monday.

CNN’s David Wright, Ali Zaslav and Maegan Vázquez contributed to this report.


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