Ainsworth warns Alabama mask mandate ‘a slippery slope’ to mandatory vaccines, vows to fight against potential second economic shutdown
Saturday, Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth spoke before the monthly gathering of the Madison County Men’s Republican Club, which met virtually because of the threat of COVID-19. He reiterated his opposition to the statewide mask mandate implemented by Gov. Kay Ivey and State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris last week.
Ainsworth maintained it was not his aim to make news but said he thought mandate decisions should be left up to local officials, which he said worked well with the plan initially in place.
However, he also warned the statewide mask mandate could mean a “slippery slope” circumstance, which may lead to mandatory vaccinations later on down the road.
“I was in the news this week,” he explained. “I wasn’t planning on being in the news, but I spoke Tuesday about the plan we had in place — talking about COVID-19 right now. I want to say this: We had a good plan in place. It was local control, which I am always for. I believe people at the local level know best and can make the best decisions about how to impact their community. We had a system in place that listed each county green, yellow, orange or red, depending on how the cases were doing so local leaders could make decisions about not only our community but the school systems could decide what to do.”
“I was on record before, and I’m not going to support a mandate for masks statewide,” Ainsworth said. “I think it is the wrong policy. I think that when you do that, it is a slippery slope. And the thing I think I want everybody on this call to understand is once we go down this road of mandating masks, the next thing they’re going to try to mandate, and you’re already seeing it, is vaccines.”
The lieutenant governor, however, added that if such a vaccine were available, he and his family would get it.
“If a vaccine comes out, will I get it? Absolutely. Will my kids and wife get it? Absolutely. Some people have different beliefs from that, and what I want us to make sure is we’ve got to protect freedom. We’ve got to protect liberty. And when the government starts mandating stuff, in my opinion, it is a slippery slope and dangerous. And so, that’s why I was against that.”
Ainsworth stated his opposition to another economic shutdown and pledged to oppose such a measure, should Ivey and Harris choose to pursue it.
“I will also fight harder than I have ever fought if Dr. [Scott] Harris or the Governor want to close down any businesses,” he added. “That’s not the right course of action.”
“We had to make sure our hospitals were prepared from a PPE standpoint, from a ventilator standpoint,” Ainsworth continued. “We cannot have policy that shuts down businesses in our state, and that is the way we’re going to combat this virus. The thing I want y’all to realize is this: The virus is going to be here for the next year, year-and-a-half. It’s going to be here. We have to learn to live life. We have to learn to be responsible. We have to take up personal responsibility, common sense. Do I think you should wear a mask when you go inside? I think it makes sense. Do I think you should try to stay six feet away from people and be smart about interacting, not shaking hands? I do, obviously. Practice proper sanitation? I do. Do I think the government needs to mandate these things? I do not. That is a message I’m going to continue to preach. I just want to make sure everybody knows that if we go down this road to roll back regulations on business, I will fight as hard as I’ve ever fought to keep businesses open.”
@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly and host of Huntsville’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN.