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Tag: joe biden

Biden Economy Surpasses Goals Set By Trump

Not since "The Karate Kid" was playing in movie theaters and Wendy's introduced its "Where’s The Beef?" ad campaign, has the U.S. economy seen such rapid growth.

America's real gross domestic product, a snapshot of a country’s economic output, increased by 6.9% in the last quarter of 2021, according to newly released figures from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The average GDP was 5.7% during President Joe Biden's first year in office — the fastest economic growth the country has seen since 1984.

"The GDP numbers for my first year show that we are finally building an American economy for the 21st Century, with the fastest economic growth in nearly four decades, along with the greatest year of job growth in American history," Biden said in a statement on Thursday. "And, for the first time in 20 years, our economy grew faster than China's."

This week's report confirmed that the country is seeing faster job growth under Biden than under the last three Republican presidents combined, according to Simon Rosenberg, founder of the liberal think tank NDN.

When he was in office, President Donald Trump often boasted about stimulating "the greatest economy in the HISTORY of America." In reality, Trump oversaw the worst drop in real GDP in American history, largely because of his administration's botched response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trump once bragged about 3% growth, calling it "one of the great gifts to the middle-income people that they've ever gotten for Christmas."

"The economy now is at 3%," he told reporters in 2017. "Nobody thought it would be anywhere close. I think it could go to 4, 5, and maybe even 6%, ultimately."

Trump's prediction did ultimately come true — under a Biden presidency.

President Barack Obama also surpassed Trump's quarterly growth rates, reaching a quarterly rate of 5.2% in the middle of 2014.

The U.S. added more than 6 million jobs during Biden's first year in office. Trump, by contrast, presided over the loss of nearly 10 million jobs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of the 42 million jobs created since 1989, almost all of them — a staggering 95% — have been added during Democratic presidencies, Rosenberg added.

Whether it's real GDP, employment, stock prices, or income, nearly every economic indicator reveals what Trump himself admitted to CNN's Wolf Blitzer in 2004: "The economy does better under the Democrats."

Behind 2021's robust economic recovery is Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which sent $1,400 relief checks to most Americans, expanded unemployment benefits, and invested in state and local governments, small businesses, and health care.

A December report from the Roosevelt Institute found that the American Rescue Plan spurred massive job growth while protecting the economy from the pandemic's worst effects.

Democrats in Congress passed the measure last March, over the opposition of every Republican in Congress. Since then, some of the same Republican lawmakers who voted against the American Rescue Plan have taken credit for the public projects it funded.

"It's amazing how Democrats are creating economic growth and didn't have to hand out trillions in tax cuts to big corporations and the wealthy!" Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) tweeted on Thursday. "Instead, we supported funding to open schools, get Americans vaccinated, and people back to work. Trickle-down economics is a myth."

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Press Predictions Of Biden's 'Doom' Are Just Clouds Of Donkey Dust

I’ve been bemused by what I’ve called the Cult of the Presidency since long before it became my job to write about it. To an awful lot of people, the President of the United States is held personally responsible for things he can’t do a blessed thing about, from the price of Cocoa Puffs to the mutation of viruses. And too rarely given credit for things he’s done right.

Given the onset of climate change, it won’t be long before we’re blaming the White House for the weather.

But hey, it comes with the territory. A person would have to be downright mad with ambition to want the job.

That said, I’ve always felt warmly toward Joe Biden, if for no other reason than his resemblance to my late father, another Irish guy with a great smile and a fondness for the word “malarkey.” He also favored the phrase “donkey dust,” basically “nonsense.”

Something else that comes with the presidency is the attention of the nation’s esteemed Washington press clique. To find a group more prone to insider gossip and groupthink, one would have to be transported back to a high school lunchroom.

By way of historical context, Eric Boehlert provides the following example of press clique conventional wisdom on his Press Run website: “A year into his presidency, President [Blank] faces a polarized nation and souring public assessments of his efforts to change Washington, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.”

The year was 2010, the president, Barack Obama. Pundits predicted that the Ebola virus would ravage the nation and Obamacare would enter a demographic death spiral. Neither happened. So, it’s best to keep things in perspective when CNN asks “Is Biden’s Presidency Doomed?”

Probably not.

That said, Covid continues to ravage the nation, affecting every aspect of American life from education to inflation—no thanks to red state Republicans’ conversion to a pro-virus death cult. Hospitals are overwhelmed with the sick and dying, and what are they upset about? Face masks, Dr. Fauci.

Then too, congressional Democrats and the White House wasted months pretending that a 51-50 advantage in the Senate would allow the passage of “Build Back Better”—sweeping legislation few voters understood.

Altogether elsewhere, Vladimir Putin appears determined to occupy Ukraine, driving a wedge between the US and our NATO allies.

Of the above crises, only the time and political capital wasted pursuing “progressive” daydreams can be laid at Biden’s feet. Not only was Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WVV) never going to give Bernie Sanders’s supporters what they wanted, his constituents don’t want him to. West Virginia voted for Donald Trump over Joe Biden by 69 percent to 30 percent -- more than two to one.

“You don’t have to be a genius to succeed in politics,” the late Robert F. Kennedy told a friend of mine. “But you do need to be able to count.”

Biden wouldn’t be the first president to overrate his personal charm and persuasive skills. It’s been known to happen.

Left out of many negative assessments of Biden’s first year, however, was the extraordinary success of his economic policies. Thanks in large part to the fiscal stimulus plan he signed into law last March, unemployment has declined to 3.9 percent, almost where it was pre-Covid.

Since Biden’s inauguration, the U.S. economy has generated more than six million new jobs — an extraordinary achievement. Workers’ wages have risen as well. For all the wailing and gnashing of teeth about high gasoline prices and seven percent inflation, both outside the president’s control, and both likely to be brought under control after Covid recedes, the president’s economic record could hardly be stronger.

That said, yes Biden’s polling numbers fell considerably beginning in August 2021, in seeming reaction to the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan. (Not that anybody wants to go back.) But that hardly makes him an outlier, notes Tim Noah in The New Republic: “That also happened to Trump, Obama, Clinton, Reagan, and Carter.”

In short, the post-honeymoon phase of the presidency tends to be rough on everybody. Noah also notes that Washington media gossip has little bearing on a president’s political success: “Time famously pronounced Clinton ‘The Incredible Shrinking President’ on a June 1993 cover.”

Three years later, Clinton was re-elected easily despite the press clique’s obsession with the make-believe “Whitewater” scandal.

George W. Bush was saved from sinking polls during his first year by the surge in patriotism following the 9/11 terror attacks, only to plunge to historic lows after his disastrous Iraq invasion. In case you’ve forgotten, the Washington media led cheers, dressed up in fatigues, and followed the troops into battle.

Chances are Joe Biden hasn’t yet encountered whatever it is that will determine his administration’s place in history. But it’s clear that poll numbers won’t define it. Those fall under the heading of what my father would have called “donkey dust.”

Spreading Hate — And Hypocrisy — On Biden’s Supreme Court Choice

With Justice Stephen Bryer announcing his retirement, President Joe Biden is set to nominate a new justice, and the White House has reaffirmed his campaign promise in 2020 to nominate the first Black woman to the court. Going forward, there is a long list of judges in respected positions currently under public scrutiny.

Meanwhile, conservatives are now treating Biden’s campaign promise like an unprecedented affront against the country — while engaging in plenty of blatantly racist and misogynist rhetoric — even though it was nearly identical to a campaign pledge made by Ronald Reagan in 1980.

Biden isn’t the first president to have made such a promise

At a Democratic primary debate in South Carolina in February 2020, Biden said: “I'm looking forward to making sure there's a black woman on the Supreme Court, to make sure we in fact get every representation.” Biden further reiterated at another debate in March 2020: “I committed that if I'm elected president, have an opportunity to appoint someone to the courts, will be — I'll appoint the first black woman to the courts. It's required that they have representation now. It's long overdue.”

But nearly 40 years before, in the closing weeks of the 1980 presidential campaign, Republican nominee Ronald Reagan made a direct promise that he would nominate a woman to “one of the first Supreme Court vacancies in my administration,” saying that it was “time for a woman to sit among our highest jurists.”

The Washington Post reported at the time that while Reagan said he opposed “tokenism and false quotas,” he further added: “I am also acutely aware, however, that within the guidelines of excellence, appointments can carry enormous symbolic significance. This permits us to guide by example — to show how deep our commitment is and to give meaning to what we profess.”

Reagan kept that promise at the very first opportunity he got, nominating Sandra Day O’Connor in 1981 to be the first woman to sit on the court.

Conservatives now call Biden’s pledge “discrimination,” “unconstitutional,” and even “tribal warfare”

Early on Wednesday afternoon, in a conversation with law professor and Fox News contributor Jonathan Turley, Fox anchor Harris Faulkner suggested that Biden’s campaign pledge was “discrimination.”

Turley then published a guest column that evening in Fox News’ corporate cousin The Wall Street Journal, claiming that this Supreme Court nomination would be “different from any in history” due to Biden’s promise to nominate a Black woman. He also alleged that the presence of such a justice on the court would set up a historically “jarring” moment in the court’s proceedings:

Mr. Biden is now going to create one of the more jarring and incongruous moments in the history of the Supreme Court. This fall, in the Harvard and University of North Carolina cases, the justices will hear arguments that the use of race in admissions is unlawful discrimination. One of them will have gained her seat in part through exclusionary criteria of race and sex.

National Review also furnished some concern-trolling that afternoon, its editorial bemoaning that Biden had “disqualified dozens of liberal and progressive jurists for no reason other than their race and gender.”

On Wednesday night, Fox prime-time host Tucker Carlson alleged that Biden’s pledge for the Supreme Court nomination was equivalent to “giving up the spoils like carrot cake.” He further added, very ominously: “You can see where this is going. It always goes there — identity politics always ends with tribal warfare. It's funny the Biden people can't see that. Maybe they can see it and don't care or maybe it is the entire point of the exercise.”

Fox host Sean Hannity repeatedly questioned whether Biden’s pledge to nominate a Black woman was even constitutional. Alan Dershowitz and others made similar claims.

Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo declared Thursday morning: “What kind of qualification is that, being a Black woman? I mean is this our standards now, in terms of the highest court in the land?”

Turley appeared Thursday morning on Fox’s America’s Newsroom, during which co-anchor Dana Perino read a section from his Wall Street Journal column. Turley, at his own initiative, attempted to delineate the “subtle difference” between Biden’s promise in 2020, versus Reagan’s campaign promise in 1980 to nominate a woman to “one of the first Supreme Court vacancies” — claiming that Reagan “didn’t say he would only consider a woman.”


DANA PERINO (CO-ANCHOR): In your Wall Street Journal column today, though, you wrote this. “A college couldn't get away with Biden's high court criteria. His promise to appoint only a Black woman is the kind of quota the justices rejected in,” I believe it’s “ Bakke.” Tell me more about that.

JONATHAN TURLEY (FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR): Well, it's a great irony in that you’re admitting someone to the court based on an admission standard that the court itself has banned for schools. And indeed, the court just took two racial preference cases to add to its docket. So, those cases will be heard by a justice who was initially selected through the very type of racial preference rule. But in this case, it wasn't a preference rule — President Biden said he would not consider anyone who was not female or African American. That would not be allowed for a private company or a university.

Now, this may seem like a subtle difference. I mean, presidents like Ronald Reagan said that he wanted to put a woman on the court. But he said that he wanted to put a woman in one of his first vacancies, and he didn't say that he would only consider a woman. Ultimately, he did in fact select O’Connor — and Sandra Day O’Connor very much was a short list of one. So, the important thing here is just that presidents can emphasize diversity as an element the same way as universities can. But they don't go as far as Biden did, usually, and say, well, I'm not going to consider anyone who is male or not African American.

With or without a campaign pledge, the right would attack Biden’s pick as somehow being “lesser”

On Thursday, The Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro claimed: “They can overtly discriminate against people, which is really an amazing shift. By the way, it’s an amazing tonal shift in American politics. You wouldn’t have heard [President] Bill Clinton doing this in the ‘90s — you just wouldn’t have.” (In fact, Clinton promised in his 1992 campaign that his administration would be diverse and “look like America.”)


Shapiro further claimed that the “more amazing thing” was that Biden didn’t have to make the campaign pledge: “He didn’t have to say it in 2020. He could’ve just selected a Black woman. He would’ve gotten the same credit.”

In fact, it is easy to prove that Biden would not have gotten the “same credit” for simply nominating a Black woman in the absence of any prior pledge. Ilya Shapiro of the Cato Institute, in a now-deleted set of tweets, claimed that “we’ll get a lesser black woman” on the Supreme Court while there are other more deserving candidates and that Biden’s nominee “will always have an asterisk attached.”

In fact, as Slate writer Mark Joseph Stern pointed out, Ilya Shapiro had previously written a piece for CNN in 2009 lambasting then-President Barack Obama’s first Supreme Court nomination: “In picking Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama has confirmed that identity politics matter to him more than merit. While Judge Sotomayor exemplifies the American Dream, she would not have even been on the shortlist if she were not Hispanic.”

In that instance, Obama had never made any similar pledge to nominate a Latina to the Supreme Court. But the right-wing ire rained down just the same. This entire narrative is based on the assumption that representation and merit are antithetical to each other — and that such a nomination is always in some way “lesser.”

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

Justice Breyer Announces Retirement, Gives Biden Chance To Nominate Progressive

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, 83, announced he will retire at the end of the Court’s term. Breyer, nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1994, is but one of three liberals left on the nation’s highest court now dominated by right-wing ideologues jammed through by Republicans.

Liberals were pressing Breyer to retire while President Biden still held a majority--albeit slim-- in the Senate. Thankfully, Breyer appears to be doing just that.

NBC News’ Pete Williams, who broke the story, notes President Biden is wholly committed to nominating the first Black woman to the Supreme Court.

One can only imagine Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will say we can't fill another seat in the last three years of an administration.

Michael Hayne is a comedian, writer, voice artist, podcaster, and impressionist. Follow his work on Facebook and TikTok

Biden Says What Most Sane Americans Think About Peter Doocy (VIDEO)

It was not a good day for Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy. First, Press Secretary Jen Psaki was clearly irked by his line of questioning as he tried to make news by framing a rise in crime as something the Biden administration has ignored, despite Fox News promoting Second Amendment “activists” and doing its best to oppose efforts to reduce poverty and efforts to counter societal ills.

Later, after the close of President Biden’s Competitiveness Council meeting, reporters continued to shout questions at the President. Among them Peter Doocy, who carelessly asked the President if rising inflation was a “liability” for the midterm elections.

“It’s a great asset – more inflation. What a stupid son of a bitch,” President Biden appeared to say sarcastically.

Watch The Entire Exchange Below:

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Taking The Measure Of Joe Biden, Correctly

America's political media — and especially our "punditocracy" — suffer from myriad defects. They love simple answers and often seem hostile to complexity. They tend to obsess slavishly over the latest polling data. And they suffer from a chronic amnesia that erases not only historical context but even very recent events from their narrow minds.

Marking the end of President Joe Biden's first year in office, the media consensus followed a predictable and familiar framing. After 12 months, with the coronavirus pandemic continuing, his legislative agenda incomplete and his approval ratings in steep decline, Biden was all but declared a failure — with no clear way forward.

That depiction of his presidency is no doubt puzzling to Biden because it omits so much of what has happened since his inauguration and almost everything that occurred in the four preceding years. Did Biden end the pandemic, with all its damaging effects on our economy and society? No, and neither could anyone else, least of all his predecessor. But he has done a great deal to ameliorate its worst effects — and has achieved that much against an ultra-partisan opposition willing to sacrifice the nation for its own advantage.

Let's first consider the obvious — or what ought to be obvious.

During the 2020 campaign, then-President Donald Trump warned that America would stumble into "a depression" if Biden won. That would have been worse than the economic conditions caused by Trump's erratic and sometimes ruinous policies, but things were already bad. High unemployment induced by the pandemic (and Trump's mishandling of it) showed no signs of abating quickly. Markets were in turmoil. Further decline appeared inevitable, and economists predicted that we wouldn't return to pre-pandemic levels of unemployment for several years.

Yet now we can see how wrong Trump was. Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, employment and markets have smashed previous records repeatedly during the past year. And with a remarkable six million jobs created in a single year — a record high for any president in memory — those gloomy forecasts about post-pandemic recovery are in the dustbin. The economy is now effectively at full employment, with wages rising rapidly for the first time in decades.

A significant drag on those wage increases is inflation, which the Biden White House underestimated initially. But supply chain woes and price hikes are a global problem, not a consequence of Biden policies — while America's astonishing growth is unmatched elsewhere in the world.

Both the national economy and the conditions of life in America would be far better if Biden didn't face concerted resistance to his vaccination campaign and other efforts to defeat the pandemic. Republican officials and media figures who are themselves vaccinated have cynically — even monstrously — discouraged their constituencies from getting the jab. Evidently, they are willing to accept mass death so they can blame it on Biden. Nevertheless, the administration has succeeded in inoculating over 200 million Americans and saved many of them from a painful, untimely death. If Trump were still president, many more would be dead.

Voters who profess to be "disappointed" with Biden might try harder to recall the horror of the administration he ousted, in a hard-fought campaign that Trump and his minions refuse to concede to this day. Unlike Trump, who accomplished so little of value during four years despite his party's complete domination of Congress when he entered the White House, Biden passed the historic infrastructure program that had been promised — and got 20 Republican senators to vote for it.

Although no Democrat could have restored the "normal" political order that Trump and his Republicans have so eagerly destroyed in a single year, Biden has worked hard to uphold standards we once took for granted. He has ousted the gang of crooked and unethical officials Trump appointed and ended the abuse of basic government functions like the census. Both Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will release their tax returns this year, because unlike Trump, they have nothing unsavory to conceal.

"Unlike Trump" is what matters most in this era of peril to the republic and the world. That's the real choice, rather than measuring this president against some impossible wishlist. Biden could hardly be more unlike Trump than he is — and we are more secure and prosperous thanks to him.

To find out more about Joe Conason and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

How Much Blame Does Biden Deserve For Inflation Woes?

President Joe Biden's standing with voters has taken a beating on multiple fronts. He is perceived as not focusing on issues they care about, particularly inflation.

Inflation is a president slayer. Richard Nixon imposed wage and price controls. When they were lifted, prices soared even higher. Would Nixon have been removed over Watergate if the economy had been better?

Gerald Ford issued red and white lapel pins proclaiming "WIN," which stood for "Whip Inflation Now." Inflation was unimpressed. Ford got whipped by Jimmy Carter in the 1976 election.

Inflation dogged the Carter presidency as well. Carter did eventually appoint a determined inflation hawk, Paul Volcker, to lead the Federal Reserve. He threw the nation into a recession by hiking interest rates. Ronald Reagan defeated Carter in 1980.

Does Biden deserve the blame for inflation? Not to the degree people are saying.

Senate Republicans held a press conference in July blaming the "insane tax and spending spree of President Biden and the Democrats for six straight months of raging inflation." In December, Sen. Mitch McConnell tweeted: "It is unthinkable that Senate Democrats would try to respond to this inflation report by ramming through another massive socialist spending package in a matter of days."

Whoa. Biden did pass a large COVID-19 bill early in his term, but the rest of the "socialism" Republicans are fulminating about did not pass.

Republicans are suddenly crying "socialism!" but let's be fair. While the government has been pumping money into the economy at a record clip over the past 14 years, most of that has been the work of the Federal Reserve, and former President Donald Trump was the most vociferous proponent of easy money we've ever seen.

Since the financial crisis of 2008, the Federal Reserve has been shoveling money out the door with pitchforks, and in the wake of COVID-19, both the central bank and the federal government have been "dropping money from helicopters," to use the image coined by Milton Friedman.

Many economists believe the Fed was right to do this as a response to the financial crisis of 2008. The controversy arises about when it was time to stop. Arguably, the Trump years were the right time. But that's not what the Trump-led GOP favored.

Trump's money gusher began in 2017 with the $1.9 trillion tax cut that wasn't matched with any spending cuts.

Trump appointed Jerome Powell to the Fed but quickly soured on him when he didn't increase the money supply quickly enough for Trump's taste. Powell was soon on the receiving end of Trump tweets. He argued that "we need rate cuts and easing" (exactly the opposite of what we needed).

If Republicans were worried about inflation, they might have spoken up about Trump's attempt to flood the economy with easy cash (to say nothing of eroding the norm about political influence on the Fed).

Then came COVID-19. Most people think the big federal cash infusion, the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, was a necessary response to the emergency. It saved many from destitution. But that money, combined with the trillions of dollars of quantitative easing and near-zero interest rates over the past decade and a half, certainly set the stage for inflation. Congress passed an additional $900 billion in December of 2020 — which Trump signed — for a grand total of over $3 trillion in COVID-19 relief.

Again, all of this money sloshed into the economy before Biden took the oath of office.

Was it wise for Biden to pass yet another COVID-19 relief package, the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, in 2021? I don't think so. But did it cause the inflation we're experiencing now?

The annual inflation rate for most things Americans buy was already at the highest level in a decade before Biden entered the White House. And inflation is global. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, inflation among its 38 member states is running higher than at any point since 2008.

So, even if Biden is only partially responsible for the inflation we've got, there are steps he can take. One would be to remove the Trump-imposed tariffs, which are taxes that raise the price of goods to Americans. Another would be to promote more legal immigration. We are suffering a severe labor shortage in all areas. More labor would ease bottlenecks at ports and in transportation. Make keeping schools open a priority. Remote learning has been terrible for kids, and many parents cannot work if their kids are not in school.

Biden should forthrightly address what's on voters' minds. He's gotten tangled up in internecine fights with other Democrats over matters voters don't know or care about and that he can't even win. If they sense he's not really engaged in controlling the inflation menace, it could well do to him what it has done to other presidents.

Reprinted with permission from Creators.com

Biden White House Ramps Up Delivery Of Free COVID Tests And KN-95 Masks

The Biden administration is taking several steps to address the latest wave of COVID-19, including the creation of a response team designed to head off possible future variants of the coronavirus.

Experts say the month of February will likely be "tough" in terms of omicron, though there are signs that the wave may be peaking as reported infections and hospitalizations slow. Health officials are simultaneously concerned about future variants developing and groups like the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control continue to monitor the ever-changing situation.

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, meanwhile, has made moves to address the crisis, recently launching the Pandemic Innovation Task Force, which is focused on developing treatments, vaccines, testing, and other tools to respond to variants that may appear within six months to two years.

Eric Lander, who serves as President Joe Biden's science adviser, leads the group along with Dawn O'Connell, assistant secretary for preparedness at the Department of Health and Human Services. Bloomberg reported that the task force builds on the $65.3 billion, 10-year pandemic preparedness plan released by the White House in September to coordinate efforts across the government in the event of future outbreaks.

That plan is a reversal from former President Donald Trump, whose team, upon taking over, discarded the pandemic preparedness plan left in place by President Barack Obama's team and left the Office of Science and Technology Policy director seat vacant for two years.

The Biden administration on Tuesday also launched an official website to offer COVID-19 tests to every American household, a day ahead of the scheduled launch.

The site, COVIDtests.gov — which allows each household to order 4 free at home COVID-19 test kits, to be delivered by the U.S. Postal Service — immediately attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors and was the most visited federal government page. According to the official federal government analytics site, it received over 47 million visits in its first 48 hours of operation.

On Wednesday, the Biden administration also announced that it would make 400 million N95 masks available to Americans for free. The masks are being sourced from the Strategic National Stockpile and will be sent to local pharmacies and community health centers for anyone to pick up.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance on Jan. 14 to reflect the fact that N95 caliber masks, in comparison to cloth masks, "offer the highest level of protection" against COVID-19 infection.

Biden has publicly voiced support for masks since the height of the pandemic in 2020 and has continued to publicly mask himself while promoting vaccination efforts.

Republished with permission from American Independent