GOP Congressman blows off COVID mask mandate on commercial airline

GOP Congressman blows off COVID mask mandate on commercial airline
Rep. Chip Roy // Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

A Texas lawmaker, who has publicly criticized mask mandates amid the pandemic, sat maskless on a commercial plane for a substantial amount of time during his flight. According to The Associated Press, Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) departed Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to travel back to his district of Austin, Texas to attend a border security event with former President Donald Trump.

Photos and footage of Roy on the flight was obtained by the publication. For nearly three minutes, Roy sat maskless on the Southwest Airlines flight. The move comes as no surprise to most as Roy has adamantly condemned mask-wearing. In fact, the publication offered a breakdown of Roy's mask opposition.

Per AP News:

"Roy was issued a formal warning by congressional leaders in May after he and a handful of other Republicans refused to wear masks on the House floor, as then required by the chamber's rules. In a May 18 tweet, Roy said his refusal was to wear a mask was a protest 'to stand up for every student and every hard working American wanting the insanity to end.'"

He is also one of the co-authors for a Republican-led bill to block federal authorities from requiring masks in airports, onboard aricrafts, and on public transportation, such as buses and trains.

The latest reports about Roy come nearly a year after he spoke out to criticize coronavirus mitigation efforts. Speaking to CNN back in July 2020, Roy sowed doubt about the effectiveness of masks to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus especially when having "interactions with perfect strangers on an airplane with circulating air."

"With cotton masks on an airplane, where everybody is pretending like they're doing something noble to try to save people from a virus on a cylinder with 50 people on it flying through the air," Roy said in the interview. "My question to you all is how are people wearing a cotton mask on an airplane saving you from circulating virus on an airplane?"

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