Over the past week, two states accounted for one-third of all freshly positive Covid-19 cases in the U.S. Those states would be Texas and Florida, and it’s not as though there wasn’t enough warning that this would happen with the Delta variant out in the wild. And of course, this is a global situation with other countries maintaining stricter protocols than here in the U.S., and when our officials travel, they tend to respect those requirements.
That was the case when Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III recently tweeted a recent video of going “[w]heels down in the Philippines.” In doing so, he sported not only a mask but also a face shield, which (as confirmed by Snopes) was the required protocol in public places at the time that Austin arrived in the country.
Wheels down in the Philippines. pic.twitter.com/S8kjbTKMxW
— Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III (@SecDef) July 29, 2021
Marco Rubio, however, scoffed at the video posted by Austin. He tweeted, “Our @SecDef is vaccinated. But he arrives in the Philippines wearing a mask AND a face shield. Embarrassing COVID theatre.”
Our @SecDef is vaccinated
But he arrives in the Philippines wearing a mask AND a face shield
Embarrassing COVID theatre pic.twitter.com/y0UBYEfqTD
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) July 29, 2021
Granted, anything COVID-related (including masks and face shields) has turned into a ridiculously political matter, so Rubio is not alone in being theatrical in his own way here. I mean, there are congresspeople screaming at each other and throwing masks at staffers over reinstated mask mandates.
It’s very silly to react this way when masks and shields can save lives, and this is especially silly since Rubio is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but (and as pointed out by MSNBC) Rubio continued to drag Austin by tweeting photos of the defense secretary in other countries in various states of masked-ness but with no shield and adding, “I guess the face shield mandate was lifted shortly after he landed.”
Well, Twitter had some words for Marco, including the true meaning of the word “embarrassing.” Ouch.
"Embarrassing" is having you represent our state. As for "theatre," you're being a drama queen here so just stop.
— Katie S. Phang (@KatiePhang) July 29, 2021
Florida is embarrassing COVID theater
— Riley #fullyvaccinated #GetVaxxed Sarcasm, Inc. (@zoostationaz) July 29, 2021
I'm vaccinated. Just tested positive.
Shut the fuck up already #CovidIsNotOver
— Randi Rhodes (@RandiRhodes) July 29, 2021
you are a freakin' idiot.
They asked him to wear it.
You are such a clown.
You were one of the first people to get the vaccine.
You are the worst public officials this country ever produced.
You are an embarrassment to humanity.
— YS (@NYinLA2121) July 29, 2021
The host country asked him to….you embarrassment of a representative of our country. Embarrassing COVID theatre is you bitching about this while people in your state refuse to vaccinate and are dying from Delta variant. Loser.
— Fred Wellman (@FPWellman) July 29, 2021
What's embarrassing about it, Marco?
If you can successfully explain why he or we should feel embarrassed about 1) respecting local regulations and 2) exercising an abundance of caution in a deadly pandemic with longterm implications for survivors, I'll donate to your campaign.
— Alexandra Erin (@AlexandraErin) July 30, 2021
Know what’s really embarrassing? You. A US Senator. Dumping on the Philippines Military COVID protocols for culture war points.
— surfbgull (@surfbgull) July 29, 2021