President Donald Trump and his allies have frequently downplayed the threat of the virus that's killed over 300 thousand Americans, unemployed millions more, and completely upended daily life in the United States.
In February interviews with journalist Bob Woodward that were released in September, Trump said the virus was worse than "even your most strenuous flus" despite saying the diametric opposite in public. Trump also said to Woodward that even young people were dying from the virus while publicly saying that young people were practically immune.
The President has amplified disinformation regarding safety measures laid out by his own officials and his rhetoric against the usage of masks and initial refusal to publicly wear one has politicized a precaution that's been proven to slow the spread.
Most alarmingly, Trump resumed his crowded campaign rallies this past summer after a pandemic-induced hiatus, an action that one study found led to 30 thousand cases of the virus. Trump continued to hold events at the White House, such as the nomination ceremony for Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court—a superspreader event that led to an outbreak of the virus in the White House shortly before infecting the President himself.
Because of the President's frequent anti-mask comments, many of his supporters haven't worn masks at these events, even as cases spike.
One Massachusetts Republican who attended a maskless holiday party at the White House is now expressing regret, believing he caught the virus during the festivities.
Tom Mountain is the Vice Chairman of the Massachusetts Republican State Committee, and he's been hospitalized twice in recent weeks after attending the White House Hanukkah party earlier this month.
Mountain told the Boston Globe:
"I didn't listen to the warnings of my own family, and now I'm paying the price."
He said that attendees of the event mostly went without masks and that there was heavy mingling and eating at the "big banquet."
Mountain believes he caught the virus at the Hanukkah party:
"Lets put it this way: When I went down to Washington, D.C., for the White House Hanukkah event, I was perfectly fine. And three days later after that event, I was in the hospital… ready to be put on a lifesaving ventilator."
People weren't exactly sympathetic.
They're growing weary of repeated superspreader events coming out of the White House in the nation with the highest number of virus cases in the world.
As recently as this month, Trump continues to float anti-mask theories despite overwhelming evidence of their effectiveness.