In the latest incident in which local law enforcement officials have bridled at state mandates to wear masks, a Republican sheriff in western Washington told residents “don’t be a sheep” in response to Gov. Jay Inslee’s order Tuesday that residents must wear face coverings in public while a sheriff in the southern part of the state called Inslee an “idiot” who was “violating people’s constitutional rights.”
“In case you guys didn’t hear, Gov. Inslee, in his infinite wisdom, has decided after over a hundred and some odd days that we should all wear face masks… Here’s what I say: Don’t be a sheep,” said Lewis County Sheriff Rob Snaza to a cheering crowd gathered in a church parking lot.
On Wednesday, Klickitat County Sheriff Bob Songer called the governor an “idiot” and said he’s “overstepping his bounds.”
Last month, Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney wrote in a Facebook post that, “Along with other elected Sheriffs around our state, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office will not be enforcing an order preventing religious freedoms or constitutional rights.”
In California, after Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a mask mandate last week, at least five sheriff’s departments in the state have said they won’t enforce the order, in some cases citing the minor nature of the offense or a lack of resources. Last month, two Arizona county sheriffs said they would not enforce a stay-at-home order imposed by Democratic Gov. Doug Ducey.
When asked in an interview on Thursday if he would use “federal leverage” to mandate mask-wearing should he be elected president, Joe Biden responded, “Yes, I would—from an executive standpoint, yes, I would . . . I would do everything possible to make it a requirement that people had to wear masks in public.”
More than 150 protesters gathered outside City Hall in Scottsdale, Arizona, on Wednesday to protest recent mask mandates from the city and Maricopa County. When first introduced at the rally, Councilman Guy Phillips shouted, “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe” before ripping off his mask. Republican Daniel McCarthy, who is running for the U.S. Senate, also spoke at the rally and described mask mandates as a “communist insurrection.”