Progressive Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York joined the chorus of people criticizing the social distancing rules imposed by Democratic leadership for the State of the Union address Tuesday.
Masking requirements were dropped ahead of President Joe Biden's first State of the Union speech, prompting many to accuse officials of following the polling instead of the science.
Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter to complain about the rules because they meant some members of the press would not be allowed to attend.
"If leadership decided masks are now optional at SOTU, then how are they requiring social distancing to the extent of excluding press? That doesn’t make sense," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted Tuesday.
Initially, the guidance from the Sergeant-at-Arms at the U.S. Senate and from the U.S. Capitol's attending physician said all members of Congress could attend the speech but that they would have to wear a KN95 mask and have a PCR test within one day of the event.
Then on Sunday, the attending physician said the guidance was changed to make masks optional just two days ahead of the State of the Union.
Dr. Brian Monahan said in a memo to members of Congress that they “may choose to mask at any time, but it is no longer a requirement.”
Monahan pointed to new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to explain his fortuitous lifting of masking demands.
Many Republicans, like Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, indicated that they would forego attending the address because of the testing requirements.
"I'm healthy, so I won’t be taking a test for COVID… so I won’t be attending the #SOTU," he tweeted.
"I don't have time to go take a COVID test today. I only take a test if I’m sick," said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) to explain why he wouldn't be attending.
Biden is expected to address the ongoing invasion of Ukraine by Russia in his speech, as well as the economic challenges besetting his constituents.
Here's more about the State of the Union speech:
Biden to deliver State of the Union address amid plummeting approval ratings www.youtube.com