The chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has reversed course on his stance toward mask mandates. Earlier supporting mandatory face coverings just like the rest of his Democratic colleagues, New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney is now expressing support to rescind them.

The lawmaker called for a return to normal, given the dwindling number of Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) cases.

“[The] Democrats’ plan to fight COVID is working. Cases are down and vaccines are widely available. Now, it’s time to give people their lives back. With science as our guide, we’re ready to start getting back to normal,” he tweeted.

Maloney also thanked President Joe Biden and Gov. Kathy Hochul for “their strong science-based leadership.” He also reiterated his support for rolling back mask mandates in other Democratic states, not just New York.

The lawmaker shared this sentiment during a Feb. 9 interview. He told news anchor Erin Burnett that New York and many other places are “very close” to dropping COVID-19 mandates. “We should free as many people from these restrictions. There’s no reason for mandates at this point,” Maloney said.

“I think that, in a state like New York, we can stop mandating [masks] and we can leave these decisions to parents and/or local school boards, but the lowest level of government possible. I do think this is not a one-size-fits-all situation anymore.”

Maloney took the interview as a chance to highlight the pandemic response by both Biden and Hochul. “Here in New York, we feel comfortable because of the success of the president’s policies [and] of responsible people doing the right thing,” he said. The lawmaker also mentioned the governor, who was “waiting to see what do about school mandates.”

“Masks, of course, will continue to play a role and everyone should feel free to wear one, especially if you feel vulnerable or uncomfortable. But the issue of mandates is one where, I think, we can stop mandating it,” Maloney told Burnett. “We should not continue these extraordinary mandates one second longer than necessary.”

Pivot comes as Biden approval rating plunges

The New York legislator’s reversal followed the first year of Biden’s presidential term. The former vice president during the Obama administration originally promised to shut down the virus during the 2020 presidential elections. However, the delta and omicron variants caused COVID-19 cases to surge across the nation.

Following the sudden case spikes, Democratic areas imposed mask and vaccine mandates to curb infections. Republican areas, on the other hand, carried on as usual – and even banned mask mandates.

It also appeared that Democratic politicians like Maloney suddenly supporting repeals of mask mandates after previously calling for them, coincided with growing sentiment against Biden. Multiple surveys reflected this idea, with respondents saying they disagreed with the president’s pandemic response.

An NBC News poll with 1,000 adult respondents nationwide from Jan. 14 to 18, 2022 showed a majority of adults disagreeing. Fifty-three percent of respondents disagreed with Biden’s COVID-19 response, compared to only 44 percent who agreed.

Another poll by Quinnipiac University found more than half of respondents giving Biden’s COVID-19 response a thumbs-down. The survey polled 1,313 American adults from Jan. 7 to 10. Based on its results, 55 percent of respondents disapproved of how the president handled the pandemic, compared to only 39 percent that approved.

A Jan. 10 survey by NewsNation and Decision Desk HQ also reflected strong disapproval of Biden’s COVID-19 response. It polled 1,013 participants via an online survey, the results of which were published Jan. 13. Almost 55 percent of respondents said they disapprove of the federal pandemic response, while a little over 45 percent expressed approval.

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