Rep. Chris Stewart harshly criticized the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest mask recommendations as the highly contagious and deadly delta variant of the coronavirus tears through the country.
The Utah Republican also took issue with the requirement for House members and visitors to the U.S. Capitol to again wear face coverings regardless of whether they have received a COVID-19 vaccination in light of the CDC guidance.
Meanwhile, another Utah member of Congress, Republican Sen. Mitt Romney, likened getting the vaccine to being pro-life and said listening to health experts is “better than looking on Facebook.”
Stewart said in a tweet the CDC’s reasoning for making vaccinated people wear masks is “because they told you so.”
“President Biden’s CDC is putting Washington back into the middle of your lives. They say it’s for your own good, but provide little evidence,” he tweeted. “I’d like to remind everyone of the nine most terrifying words in the English language: “I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help.”
President Biden's CDC is putting Washington back into the middle of your lives. They say it's for your own good, but provide little evidence.— Rep. Chris Stewart (@RepChrisStewart) July 28, 2021
I'd like to remind everyone of the nine most terrifying words in the English language: "I'm from the Government, and I'm here to help."
On Tuesday, the CDC recommended that Americans who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 should go back to wearing masks in public indoor settings, along with everyone at K-12 schools, to slow the spread of the delta variant in hot spots across the nation.
Romney also weighed on the new CDC recommendations, telling KSL Newsradio’s Debbie Dujanovic, host of the morning “Dave and Dujanovic” show, he doesn’t know if the CDC got it right.
“These things are a tough call. It’s such a difficult decision because if you tell people they gotta wear masks if they’re vaccinated, then they think, oh, why should I get vaccinated. So that has a negative impact. On the other hand, if there are people who pretend to be vaccinated and don’t wear a mask on an airplane for instance that would be another problem,” he said.
The delta variant has the potential to close schools and businesses and take another whack at the economy, but more importantly, it has the potential to kill people, Romney said.
“If wearing a mask or getting a vaccination reduces the likelihood that someone might die, I being pro-life am going to take that vaccination,” he said.
Stewart said the new guidance erodes public confidence in the COVID-19 vaccine.
“If you’re worried about the virus, you’re free to get vaccinated, wear a mask, or stay at home. Freedom is the answer — not the heavy hand of government,” he said.
Romney said when it came to getting his teeth fixed, he went to a dentist. He said he went to a surgeon to remove cancer from his body.
“And when it comes to public health matters, I go to those that study this that are expert at it and look for their advice,” he said. “I think that’s generally helped me better than looking on Facebook for perhaps some kid in their basement sending out texts to scare people.”
Stewart also took issue with the new mask mandate in the House and Capitol.
“Speaker Pelosi’s draconian behavior isn’t even based on credible science. This isn’t about our well-being. This is about politics and power,” Stewart tweeted Thursday.
The Capitol’s attending physician, Dr. Brian P. Monahan, said in a memo to staff that masks will be mandated in the House office buildings, committee rooms and in and around the chamber, warning that members could be denied entry or fined if they attempt to enter the chamber without a mask, according to Forbes. It does not apply to the Senate.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told Forbes imposing a mask mandate is up to Monahan, whose guidance her office enforces.
Stewart retweeted GOP Florida Rep. Kat Cammack’s post of a Capitol Police bulletin that says staff and visitors who refuse to wear a mask or fail to leave the building when asked could be subject to arrest. The bulletin advises officers not to arrest members of Congress who do not comply but to report them to the House’s Sergeant at Arms office.
Rep. Burgess Owens, R-Utah, tweeted at Pelosi on Thursday that “this has gone on long enough. ‘Science’ is universal; THIS is partisan politics.”
Mask mandates:— Burgess Owens (@BurgessOwens) July 29, 2021
For the House not the Senate.
For the American people not those crossing the southern border.
For kids in school, not the doc
telling us to wear one. @SpeakerPelosi, this has gone on long enough. 'Science' is universal; THIS is partisan politics. pic.twitter.com/RM1b3bitm5
President Joe Biden announced Thursday a requirement that all federal employees and contractors be vaccinated or be required to submit to regular testing and mitigation requirements.
Stewart said science doesn’t support that right now and the decision is based on insufficient and flawed information. Just last week, Biden said people who are vaccinated are protected, the congressman said.
Also, Stewart said the U.S. government shouldn’t compel medical care.
“That should be a personal choice,” he told the “Dave and Dujanovic Show” on Thursday. “People should resist that, and I think they will resist that.”
Stewart said he has been vaccinated and encourages people to get the shot.