Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) thinks masks only need to be worn if someone is there to catch you without one, according to remarks caught on video during a Detroit community event.
The "Squad" member told attendees at the event that she only wore a mask because a "Republican tracker" was filming her. After doing an event with Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary Marcia Fudge on Monday, Tlaib conversed with a maskless attendee who mistakenly thought the Democrat scolded him for being "the one unmasked guy" in the area. Tlaib responded by insisting she only wore a mask because a "Republican tracker" was recording the exchange.
"Oh, no, oh, not you!" Tlaib said as she pulled her mask away from her face. "No, no, no—I'm just wearing it because I've got a Republican tracker here."
Just weeks before the event, the "Squad" member faced criticism when she danced maskless at a crowded, indoor wedding in Dearborn, Mich. The video surfaced on the same day Tlaib slammed Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) for urging his followers to "resist" Centers for Disease Control and Prevention masking guidelines. Tlaib attended the wedding days after the CDC recommended wearing masks indoors regardless of vaccination status in local areas with "high" community transmission—a categorization that applied to Dearborn at the time.
Tlaib, who did not return a request for comment, is far from the only Democrat to ignore her own rhetoric on masks. Fellow "Squad" member Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) masked up for an August photo with liberal activists but quickly removed her face covering after the picture was taken. One month prior, Virginia gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe (D.) violated federal regulations when he refused to wear a mask on an Amtrak train. McAuliffe has pledged to maintain the state's mask mandate in schools and told voters in September to "follow the CDC guidelines."
President Joe Biden in July told "all Americans who live in the areas covered by the CDC guidance" to wear a mask—a sentiment that Fudge herself has echoed. HUD's website notes that public housing inspectors "follow safety protocols informed by the CDC, which includes wearing proper protection and following other related safety measures."
HUD did not respond to a request for comment.
Fudge is not featured in the video, but she would not be the first Biden administration official who has condoned violations of mask requirements. U.S. Agency for International Development head Samantha Power rode an Amtrak train maskless in September. Climate envoy John Kerry, meanwhile, was caught removing his mask during an American Airlines flight in March and again at Boston Logan International Airport in July.
Tlaib's congressional allies have also skirted mask orders and recommendations in recent months. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) partied indoors without a mask at interior secretary Deb Haaland's wedding in August. Days before the ceremony, New Mexico governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (D.) issued a statewide order that reimposed an indoor mask mandate. Nevada Democrats Jacky Rosen and Susie Lee violated their own state's mandate during a costume party held on the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.