Sen. Mitt Romney drew the ire of some of his Republican colleagues for voting against repealing a mask mandate for children as young as two years old who participate in the federally subsidized Head Start program.
It’s the latest move Romney has made to distance himself from the majority of his party, The Daily Wire reported.
The outlet noted:
The Biden administration requires “universal masking for all individuals two years of age and older” participating in the government-run preschool program. It also requires all employees, contractors, and volunteers who come into contact with children receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
An amendment offered by Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) to the PREVENT Pandemics Act would “prevent HHS from implementing or enforcing their regulations regarding mask or vaccination protections in the Head Start program again.”
Video footage of the vote shows Romney became the only Republican member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee to vote against the measure — including Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Susan Collins (R-ME), who frequently deviate from the Republican mainstream. The former Republican standard bearer joined all HELP committee Democrats in striking down Braun’s amendment by a 12-10 vote.
Mitt Romney is the only Senate HELP Committee Republican to join Democrats in voting to allow federal mask mandates for toddlers. See 1:24. pic.twitter.com/tm7eEUtuDY
— Rachel Bovard (@rachelbovard) March 15, 2022
Romney’s vote drew quick condemnation from conservatives, including Donald Trump Jr.
“What a disgrace,” he noted on Twitter.
What a disgrace. https://t.co/p69hGqeArW
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) March 15, 2022
“Shame on @MittRomney and every senator in this room who just voted to keep toddlers in masks,” wrote Kelsey Bolar of the Independent Women’s Forum. “I am happy to bring my 2-year-old to meet with any one of you to show you how insane it is to ask parents to cover their 2-year-olds faces with a worthless piece of cloth.”
Thanks to Romney’s vote, along with Democrats on the panel, it “helped cement the United States’ status as a global outlier on mask policy,” according to The Daily Wire, which noted the World Health Organization’s position.
“Children aged 5 years and under do not need to wear a mask,” the WHO said (emphasis in the original). Also, the European Centre for Disease Control states mask-wearing is “not recommended for students” in primary school, exempting all children under the age of 12.
Romney appears to be working purposely to separate himself from his party, though that is risky as a senator from the red state of Utah.
He was the lone GOP vote on Tuesday against a measure introduced by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) to abolish mask mandates on public transportation. “The resolution garnered bipartisan support, resulting in a 57-40 vote with eight Democrats voting in favor of the resolution,” The Daily Wire reported. “Republican Utah Sen. Mitt Romney was the only Republican to vote against the resolution.”