Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has been one of the leaders in the country in trying to overturn the federal travel mask mandate. He has long said it was unconstitutional and believed the people deserved the freedom to make their own choices. He was ridiculed, condemned, and vilified by Democrats and members of the liberal media. Last week, U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle ruled that the mask mandate was illegal. Yet, ultimately, the Republican senator was vindicated in his quest for freedom. He held a press conference at Nashville International Airport on Monday to discuss the end of the travel mask mandate.
“It is a happy day, no more masks,” Paul said as he triumphantly held up a surgical mask with his left hand to celebrate the end of the mandate. “We’re seeing nothing but smiles here at the Nashville airport. People have been sick and tired of wearing the masks. We’re ready to be free again, and thank goodness for a judge who was willing to make the right decision.”
Paul’s crusade to end the mask mandate began with introducing the Travel Mask Mandate Repeal Act in July 2021. While the bill was unsuccessful, it paved the way for the eventual end of the mask mandate. What the senator considered a “bureaucratic power grab,” many Democrats considered a necessity to combat the spread of COVID-19. Ultimately, so far, the courts have sided with Paul. The Biden administration’s Department of Justice filed an appeal on the ruling last week.
Last month, Paul forced a vote in the Senate on his resolution to repeal the travel mask mandate. It passed with bipartisan support in a 57-40 vote.
“Today, the Senate said enough is enough and sent a message to unelected government bureaucrats to stop the anti-science, nanny state requirement of travel mask mandates,” the Kentucky senator said at the time. “Since March 2020, unelected bureaucrats have incessantly declared that we should ‘follow the science.’ But the same bureaucrats continue to defy science by imposing an ineffective and restrictive mask mandate for individuals traveling on public transit and airplanes. As the entire world is learning to live with COVID, the federal government still uses fearmongering to stubbornly perpetuate its mandates, rather than giving clear-eyed, rational advice on how to best protect yourself from illness. That is why I forced this vote, and I applaud the Senate for rejecting this nonsense.”
Paul should be commended for his efforts, especially given the polarization surrounding mask-wearing. But perhaps more importantly, Paul should be commended for calling out the fearmongering by Democrats and the Biden administration surrounding the pandemic. They pursued authoritative measures with questionable efficacy instead of providing alternative options for protection during the pandemic. Whether it was being censored by Big Tech or diligently working to end the federal mask mandates, the senator always championed liberty over despotic decrees.
“The administration is appealing this, but it is my hope we never have to do this again,” he said.