Oh, the hypocrisy.
A week ago Monday, Rep. Val Demings, a Florida Democrat rising up in the Joe Biden veepstakes, attended a massive “Healing and Hope” rally, where thousands of maskless protesters were jammed in elbow to elbow. She told her Twitter followers she was there “to speak with our community as America grieves.”
But by Thursday, Ms. Demings changed her tune (perhaps signifying that she’s a perfect choice for Mr. Biden).
“The president’s plan to hold mass rallies in Florida and elsewhere as we experience a resurgence in COVID cases is irresponsible and selfish,” Ms. Demings said.
“Do as I say, not as I do,” is the Democratic mantra.
Ms. Demings wasn’t alone in flip-flopping. Other top Democrats cheered on “Black Lives Matter” crowds across the United States, with many attending rallies in honor of George Floyd, a black man who died while in the custody of Minneapolis police. But they were incensed that President Trump was planning campaign rallies.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, a socialist from Vermont, wrote a week ago Monday on Twitter: “Congratulations to all who are out on the streets today peacefully protesting. Together, we will end police brutality. Together, we will defeat Trump. Together, we will fight for a government based on justice and compassion, not greed and lies.”
But by Thursday, like Ms. Demings, Mr. Sanders was blasting Mr. Trump and the Republicans’ decision to hold its nominating convention in Florida — in late August.
“Trump wants 15,000 delegates cheering him at his GOP convention in Florida,” Mr. Sanders said. “No social distancing. His rejection of medical advice endangers not only those there but those they come in contact with. Trump’s a threat to the health and well-being of the country. He must be defeated.”
Ms. Demings, too, whined about Mr. Trump’s plans to travel to Florida. “Unfortunately, Florida is experiencing a new surge in COVID-19 cases. I urge you to do everything you can to protect yourself and your neighbors. Wear a mask. Limit gatherings,” she wrote.
The mainstream media, of course, got on board.
“‘Extraordinarily dangerous’: Trump rally draws grave concerns from top health officials,” said an NBC News headline Sunday. For its piece on protests in Brooklyn — which never once mentioned the pandemic — NBC wrote this headline: “Rally for Black trans lives draws packed crowd to Brooklyn Museum plaza.”
Radio host Rush Limbaugh called out the two-faced Democrats.
“So you see, it’s OK for BLM, Black Trans Lives Matter, Occupy Wall Street, whatever. It’s OK for liberal Democrats to congregate and sardine themselves everywhere. That’s so cool. That’s fine. Let Trump do a rally and, somehow, he’s going to be responsible for murder! He’s gonna be responsible for death, responsible for people getting sick,” Limbaugh said.
Other politicians have done just the same. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose disastrous policies killed thousands in his state, also applauded protesters as they smashed through New York City, looting stores and clashing with police trying to maintain order.
Mr. Cuomo said he “stands” with those defying stay-at-home orders to protest. But weeks before that, as millions across the state were losing their jobs, Cuomo told protesters demanding the state reopen: “You have no right to jeopardize my health … and my children’s health and your children’s health.”
On the West Coast, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti threatened in March to turn off utilities for any business that reopened, saying he wanted to punish “irresponsible and selfish” behavior. Then he turned around and supported the protests. “I will always protect Angelenos’ right to make their voices heard,” he said.
And Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser, who threatened to hit violators of stay-at-home orders with $5,000 fines or 90 days in jail, sang a different song when thousands of protesters rioted in the nation’s capital, defacing memorials and monuments and torching a historic church. “We are grieving hundreds of years of institutional racism,” she said.
It goes beyond Mr. Trump. New York City officials, frustrated that residents in Brooklyn kept taking their children to a city park, welded the gates shut this week. The city had repeatedly padlocked the gates to the playground, but residents broke through at least 25 times in just a few weeks. It didn’t take them long to do so again.
Mr. Cuomo also took aim at anyone who doesn’t stay locked down, possibly forever. “Lots of violations of social distancing, parties in the street, restaurants and bars ignoring laws,” he wrote on Twitter. “Bars or restaurants that violate the law can lose their liquor license.”
So thick is the hypocrisy you can cut it with a knife. Democrats applaud the race riots and looting — anything to hurt Mr. Trump’s re-election chances. But for people who are being crushed under draconian lockdown measure enacted by state and city governments, they have no patience, no understanding.
Oh the hypocrisy.
• Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @josephcurl.