Gov. Gretchen Whitmer nominated President Trump to tweet a pic of himself in a mask. Instead, he retweeted a dangerous video touting false coronavirus claims.
MICHIGAN — #MaskUpAmerica. It’s good advice, and it’s also a challenge sweeping the Twitterverse that’s seen everyone from parents to national political figures post selfies in their masks and nominate others to show their commitment to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
And the hashtag has made its way to Michigan’s top elected offices. Last week, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist accepted the Mask Up Challenge and posted a pic sporting a maize and blue mask representing his alma mater, the University of Michigan.
“The Leaders and Best always lead by example,” Lt. Gov. Gilchrist tweeted, referencing U-M’s famous fight song. Of course, he nominated Michigan’s top leader, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, to take on the challenge next.
And the outspoken mask proponent didn’t disappoint.
“Thanks for the nomination,” she said, “ … Wearing a mask isn’t about politics, it’s about saving lives.”
Acting with her usual gumption, Gov. Whitmer used the opportunity to make a statement and put President @realDonaldTrump on the spot, nominating him to mask up, snap a pic, post it to Twitter, and pass it on.
Trump’s Twitter Is a Mess of Disinformation
While Trump hasn’t responded to Gov. Whitmer’s call over the past week, he has retweeted extensively about the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug he touts as a treatment to COVID-19 despite at least five rigorous clinical trials providing no evidence that it has any impact in preventing the virus or treating mild to severe cases. Here’s more information on the data from those clinical trials and why it doesn’t support the use of hydroxychloroquine for prevention or treatment of COVID-19, from the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine.
Trump also recently retweeted a link to a podcast that dismisses the leadership of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, claiming he has “misled the American public on many issues.”
The widely respected immunologist has served as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for nearly four decades, advising several presidents over the course of his career.
“I don’t know how to address that,” Fauci told Politico. “I’m just going to certainly continue doing my job.”
He added, “I have not been misleading the American public under any circumstances.”
Politico reports Trump denied he was trying to undermine Fauci and told reporters that the two had just been in a coronavirus task force meeting together. He claimed he didn’t know Fauci’s stance on the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine.
Dr. Fauci said Wednesday that trials have shown “consistently” that hydroxychloroquine is “not effective” in treating the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, the Houston-based physician featured in a video Trump promoted across social platforms Monday falsely asserts that masks don’t work and that there already exists a cure for COVID-19.
CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield says cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus, a statement supported by numerous case studies.
But Trump, who has only recently begun wearing face masks in public, amplified COVID-19 disinformation by sharing that video with his 84,337,566 Twitter followers and 28,565,289 followers on Facebook before the video was removed on both platforms (as well as YouTube) due to false claims.
“We’ve removed this video for sharing false information about cures and treatments for COVID-19,” a Facebook spokesperson told CNN, adding that the platform is “showing messages in News Feed to people who have reacted to, commented on or shared harmful COVID-19-related misinformation that we have removed, connecting them to myths debunked by the WHO.”
But Michigan’s Leaders Are Tweeting Their Support of the Science
Michigan’s leaders and role models who trust in science point to research that tells everyone wearing masks is one of the best methods to manage the coronavirus effectively and save lives.
From Michigan’s Congressional Dems to the State Senate to sports coaches, families, and Michigan’s First Labradoodle, #MaskUpMichigan is all over Twitter.
Take a look: