- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Actor Matthew McConaughey said Wednesday he was “dumbfounded” by a decision by the Republican governor of his home state of Texas to lift a statewide mask mandate during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. McConaughey said during an appearance on “CBS This Morning” that Americans are getting too caught up on the word “mandate” and that now is not the time for Gov. Greg Abbott to lift mask requirements even though COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to decline.

“I was a little dumbfounded by the decision,” Mr. McConaughey said. “I understand ‘go back to work.’ What I did not understand was ‘pull the mask mandate.’ We’re on our way to seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. To pull it — the mask is just this minor inconvenience.

“I just want to remind, not only Texans, but everybody out there, it’s not the mask we’re afraid of, come on,” he continued. “It’s the word ‘mandate.’ Let’s not let the word ‘mandate’ get in the way of practical use of this little tool called a mask. It’s just a small inconvenience today for more freedom tomorrow.

“It’s our choice,” he added. “If you have the choice, keep masking up. It’s proven to help. We don’t have much longer in this. We’ll get through this. Thank you.”

Mr. McConaughey, who is hosting an event this weekend to benefit Texans impacted by last month’s winter storm, made the comments about Mr. Abbott just before addressing whether he is still considering a gubernatorial run himself, Fox News reported.

“As I’ve said before, I’m giving it consideration,” he said. “I would be a fool not to. It’s a very honorable thing to consider what that position would mean — what it would mean for me, what it would mean for the people of Texas. I have to decide for me — what is my category where I can be most useful in life from here?”

Mr. Abbott announced earlier this month that he was lifting the state’s mask mandate and allowing all businesses to reopen at full capacity, calling on Texans to enact their “personal responsibility” to continue mitigating the spread of the coronavirus. Several Republican governors across the country soon followed suit.

President Biden slammed the lifting of mask mandates as a “big mistake” rooted in “Neanderthal thinking.”

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