Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf and state representative Wendy Ullman were caught on a hot mic having the following exchange about masks:
— ReOpen Bucks County PA (@reopenbucks) September 29, 2020
The dialogue was as follows:
Governor Wolf: So Wendy, I’m gonna take my mask off when I speak so …
Representative Ullman: I will as well, just, I’m waiting so we can do a little political theatre.
As you might suspect, this video is making the rounds in Republican circles — Eric Trump tweeted about it, for example — as a sign that the governor and representative are using the idea of wearing masks as a prop.
The Bucks County Courier Times covered the story; Representative Ullman did not respond to their request for comment. Governor Wolf’s press secretary Lyndsay Kensinger wrote the following email in which she denied their political opponents’ premise: “This is an out of context clip being pushed by an extreme fringe that believes COVID-19 is a hoax … Unlike many of her colleagues on the other side of the aisle, (Ullman) leads by example to protect others by wearing a mask, and her constituents are fortunate to have her protecting them in Harrisburg.”
Not that you asked, but here’s my take on masks: We should wear them in places where social distancing is not possible, and in places like supermarkets that are essential for everyone in the population to go to. Many people who are at-risk can’t just stop going to buy groceries. We should also have to wear them in bars and restaurants and other businesses while communicating with the workers there.
On the flip side, I think that if you’re walking outside and you can be more than six feet away from people you shouldn’t need to wear it. I do think there is a point to be made that people are wearing masks on TV in part due to political theatre, as there are many times in sports and news where you see a correspondent wearing a mask when there is no one else in the vicinity.