“A lot of people believe that. I’ve met many doctors that hold that view,” Kirk added. “Secondly, we have a huge civil liberty issue here. Why do you have the authority to tell me what I can and cannot do with my body? I thought it was ‘my body, my choice.’”
The latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control state that wearing cloth face masks have proven effective for preventing someone infected with Covid-19 from passing the disease to others, and have consequently resulted in less community spread. Several states and cities have passed mask ordinances as a result.
Kirk was banned for a brief time from Twitter in late March for falsely claiming that the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine was “100% effective” in treating the coronavirus. He has also pushed to quickly reopen the nation’s economy, although in March he said that young people were at risk from the virus and that they should be careful by avoiding large gatherings.
In late June, Trump spoke to a packed audience of young Turning Point supporters at a megachurch in Phoenix where he was introduced by Kirk. Few people in the audience practiced social distancing or wore masks, although the organization gave masks to everyone who wanted one and provided socially distanced seating in the upper tier of the church.
In a statement in response to questions about Kirk’s remarks on masks, a spokesman for him said: “Charlie has long said that if you are in high risk cohorts, namely the elderly and those with comorbidities or underlying health issues — of which Bill was a part of both cohorts, both groups, — then you should take every possible precaution. Had they discussed Charlie would have recommended he self-quarantine. Charlie has questioned the efficacy of masks for low risk groups, including school aged children, those under 60 that are in good health.
“The mainstream media wants to censor dissident voices and a robust debate and that’s really what Charlie’s advocating for, for a robust debate. Because so many lives and really the entire country is implicated, we need that debate more than ever.”