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The Return of Maskless Jack: Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli Dangerously Panders to Anti-Maskers and COVID Deniers


TRENTON — During a recent appearance on the Bob and Steve Show, Republican gubernatorial candidate Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli said he would “get rid of” New Jersey’s indoor mask mandate and wants indoor mask wearing to be “completely optional.” Of course, this approach defies the science, logic, and reality of how COVID-19 spreads. 

More concerningly, at an indoor campaign event with Atlantic County Republicans on Tuesday, Assemblyman Ciattarelli once again appeared in numerous photos without a mask, which the Assemblyman has previously claimed is always “in hand.” 

As a reminder, this isn’t the first time Assemblyman Ciattarelli has embraced the dangerous anti-mask movement. In fact, Assemblyman Ciattarelli has repeatedly held maskless, indoor campaign events and partisan photo-ops. While the CDC eased outdoor mask guidance for fully vaccinated individuals on Tuesday, experts explicitly noted that mask wearing should continue indoors and in crowded settings. 

Why doesn’t public health guidance apply to the Assemblyman? Because he doesn’t want to alienate the far-right base that he needs to win the GOP nomination in June. It’s yet another Trump-like rejection of science for the sake of politics.

“Jack Ciattarelli’s anti-science views and continued politicization of COVID-19 are downright dangerous,” said Murphy for Governor Spokesman Jerrel Harvey. “As New Jersey emerges from the pandemic, it’s critical that we’re led by someone who puts public health above politics and makes decisions backed by science, and Assemblyman Ciattarelli is neither.”