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Tony Perkins / May 15, 2021

Funny You Should Mask, Biden Says

Suddenly, Americans are free to show their faces again. Coincidence? Hardly.

Public Relations 101: When you’re getting hammered by critics, give the media something else to talk about. After the worst week of his presidency so far, Joe Biden resorted to that ploy Thursday with his “Hey, look over here!” decision on public masking. The CDC, who really has no power to impose a mandate to begin with, chose this week to inexplicably lift its guidance for anyone who’s vaccinated. The world is literally imploding, every bad Biden policy is coming home to roost, and suddenly, Americans are free to show their faces again. Coincidence? Hardly.

For the president, whose White House has been drowning in crises of his own making, the desperation is so thick you can smell it. In seven days, Biden has managed to flub his response to a nationwide gas shortage, a Middle East implosion, the border surge, job numbers, and soaring inflation. After refusing to hold a press conference on any of the other challenges facing the nation, Biden made room in his schedule to declare Thursday a “great day for America.” “If you have been fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask,” he announced. “Let me repeat, if you are fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask.”

Interesting, Congressman Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) said. “Inflation is rising, the Middle East is in shambles, the working class can’t fill up their gas tanks, our border is being overrun, and the Biden administration’s leadership is nowhere to be found.” But miraculously, the president has found time to take a victory lap on the vaccine? The political expediency wasn’t lost on Republicans. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), who, like most Americans, think Biden’s COVID policies have been completely inconsistent and arbitrary, wanted to know: “Why today? The science hasn’t changed.”

Well, Senator Rick Scott’s (R-Fla.) office pointed out, what has changed is the fallout from Biden’s decisions. “I can only imagine that the President has had a terrible week as more and more Americans are realizing that his radical agenda is failing them and the country.” Meanwhile, conservatives are firing back, we don’t need the federal government telling us what we already know. It’s Democrats — not the rest of the country — who’ve made a fool of themselves by wearing masks and distancing when they’ve been vaccinated. They, along with the CDC, are the ones who’ve grossly mismanaged the pandemic — creating confusion and undermining the effectiveness of the shots. As recently as Tuesday, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky was insisting that every American wear masks — even outside. “This is absolutely crazy policy,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) argued. Two days later, the same Walensky, who stunned senators by saying her vaccinated son couldn’t go to summer camp, completely reversed herself.

But it’s not just disjointed messaging that Americans despise — it’s the condescension attached to it. Most people are sick and tired of the president’s absurd (and unenforceable) ultimatums. In a tone that rubbed plenty the wrong way, Biden tweeted, “The rule is simple: get vaccinated or wear a mask until you do. The choice is yours.” Give me a break, Federalist co-founder Sean Davis fumed. “There is no rule, and I have always had a choice to do either, both, or neither. Americans are citizens, not subjects.” And besides, the CDC has absolutely no legal authority to make non-conformists pay. States and local authorities still control these outcomes. The rest is just theater, designed to distract the country from the dumpster fire of Biden’s agenda.

Meanwhile, most of the country is probably under the impression that the White House is at least dealing with the problems privately that it doesn’t want to discuss publicly. Wrong again. The president’s focus this week wasn’t stopping the border surge. It was making sure that people who identify as transgender cross first. No, this isn’t Babylon Bee, it’s an actual Homeland Security policy that makes “humanitarian exceptions” for gender-confused illegals. “This new system of putting families and transgender persons to the front of the line for asylum and border crossing began on ‘a small scale in El Paso’ last week and is expected to be put in place across the U.S.-Mexico border. In other words, claim that you’re the opposite sex and you have a free pass into the United States.

It’s almost as confounding as the Biden administration’s other priority this week: transgendering the U.S. Air Force. While the global meltdown continues, our Pentagon’s primary concern is making sure our airmen can self-actualize at taxpayer expense. "Instead of having to wait four years and get these procedures you think you might need, you can get your gender marker changed earlier, when you’re stable in your gender,” said Lt. Col. Bree Fram. “That’s a huge benefit.” But for whom? Certainly not for Americans, who will be footing the bill for procedures that can cost more than $110,000 each. Or for national security, which would have to divert important time and resources from the military’s equipment, training, and actual warfighting to implement this.

But then, that’s the mask that Joe Biden cannot let slip — his insistence that he cares about this country, while simultaneously doing everything he can to destroy it.

Originally published here.

Shock and Law: HHS’s Becerra Plays Dumb on 2003 Ban

If there were such a thing as consistent fact-checking in the media, the head of Biden’s HHS would be keeping them all busy. Xavier Becerra, the man with zero experience in health care that President Biden chose to oversee the country’s health agencies, proved this week that his ignorance extends well beyond HHS. His abortion radicalism, unfortunately, does too. And that’s what conservatives have been warning about from the beginning.

The latest example of Becerra’s extremism came Wednesday during a House subcommittee meeting. His medical incompetence aside, there is one thing that a former state attorney general ought to know, and that’s the law. Yet even that he ignored in exchange about illegal abortions. “Partial-birth abortions are prohibited right now under current statute,” Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.) reminded him. Did Becerra, Bilirakis pressed, plan to “follow the law,” as he promised in his confirmation hearing?

Becerra, safely ensconced in his position, didn’t sugar-coat his agenda. “With due respect, there is no medical term like partial-birth abortion, and so I would probably have to ask you what you mean by that, to describe what is allowed by the law. Roe v Wade is very clear, settled precedent, and a woman has a right to make decisions about her reproductive health. And we will make sure that we enforce the law and protect those rights.”

Fine, Bilirakis continued, before pressing the matter. “Do you agree with this particular law?” “Which law are we talking about?” Becerra played dumb. “The law concerning partial-birth abortion,” Bilirakis replied, calmly. “Well, again, again as I said, there, there is no law that deals specifically with the term partial birth abortions,” he stumbled. “We are, we have, clear precedent in the law on the rights that women have to reproductive health care, and we, as I said in the confirmation hearing, we will follow the law, and protect the rights of all Americans to their health care.”

Congressman John Joyce (R-Pa.) pounced. “[I]t didn’t seem clear that you understood what my colleague, Mr. Bilirakis, meant by the term partial-birth abortion. I think that it needs to be defined as it is in statute section 1531 of Title 18 U.S. Code, literally titled "Partial-birth abortions prohibited.”

Becerra, unfazed, made it clear what his true intentions were. “Thanks for trying to clarify. I actually, I think I understood the question, and I think I understand your question as well. What I’m trying to explain is that the term partial-birth abortion may be recognized in politics, and by politicians, but it is not a medically recognized term.” (Said the man with no medical background.) “… What I’m saying to you is that under the law, a physician or any provider of health care, must make sure that he or she abides by the law. And right now what our law says, and it’s pretty settled, is that a woman is entitled to reproductive rights.”

Joyce, who’s actually a medical doctor, was appalled. On “Washington Watch” Thursday, he couldn’t hide his shock that Becerra would so openly ignore the nation’s laws. “He flat out refused to acknowledge that partial-birth abortion is prohibited under federal law,” Joyce shook his head. “I’m a doctor. I know what partial-birth abortion is. It’s literally prohibited by name in statute, ‘partial-birth abortions are prohibited.’ It confirms what we feared all along, that under Joe Biden’s leadership that the government officials are going to refuse to follow the law of the land.”

Secretary Becerra is an attorney who has a long history of working in the government, Joyce pointed out. Surely, he’s aware of that statute. And yet, if it’s anything like Becerra’s time as California’s top law enforcer, Americans know exactly what they’re getting: a lawless radical who will do anything to advance the killing of innocent unborn children.

“I’ll tell you what I see,” Joyce said. “I see the Democrats continuing to reverse the progress that was made under President Trump’s leadership, the most pro-life president that we’ve had… I can’t imagine how anyone couldn’t understand that these are basic tenets guaranteed by our Constitution. President Trump did. He advocated for the pro-life agenda. And what we’re seeing, and what I am so concerned about is a President Biden is actively working to reverse the pro-life agenda that was successfully achieved by President Trump in his administration.” They can’t even bring themselves, Joyce reminded everyone, to pass the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors act. Saving newborns shouldn’t even be a question, he insisted.

But this is how wildly out-of-step Joe Biden’s party is. It’s not moderate. It’s not centrist. It’s not even reasonable. It’s a full-blown fanatical takeover of any decent, humane policy and ideal in America. And Becerra may be new to this whole HHS scene, but abortion isn’t health care. It never has been. And FRC, in a new issue brief, explains why.

Originally published here.

This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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