(CNN)In honor of tonight’s NBA Draft, Marco Rubio performed a remarkable dunk on himself on Thursday.
The Florida Republican senator, who clearly has national ambitions, thought he had found an easy win when he came across a video of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin arriving in the Philippines — masked and wearing a face shield.”Our @SecDef is vaccinated,” Rubio tweeted along with the video. “But he arrives in the Philippines wearing a mask AND a face shield Embarrassing COVID theatre.”Boom. Roasted. Take that liberals and your virtue signaling!Except that, well this — from Politico defense editor Dave Brown:Read More”From the embassy: ‘The Philippine government has mandated that everyone must wear full-coverage face shields together with face masks while in public places. Local governments continue to implement additional requirements to slow the virus’ spread.'”Oomph. Actually, OOMPH.
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Brown just played Vince Carter to Rubio’s Frédéric Weis. (If you know, you know.)The problem here — aside from Rubio being wrong — is that he is desperately trying to throw red meat to the Republican base that he needs for both his 2022 reelection race and a possible 2024 presidential run. And the way to do that — since Trump has politicized mask-wearing (and mask not-wearing) — is to blast a Biden Cabinet member for, uh, being careful in the face of a highly transmissible strain of a virus that has killed more than 610,000 Americans.Which, even if Austin wasn’t in keeping with the masking regulations from the Philippine government, would be a dumb argument. But given that, Rubio’s self-own is particularly painful.The Point: Wearing a mask isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of concern and care for those among us who can’t be vaccinated for medical reasons. Rubio, a sitting US senator, should know waaaaay better.