Rep. Chris Smith to Newsmax: ‘About Time’ School Mask Mandates Lifted

By Nicole Wells

Responding to news that Gov. Phil Murphy, D-N.J., will be lifting mask mandates for students in the state, Rep. Chris Smith told Newsmax on Monday that “it’s about time.”

“You know, children in school are shown to be the least at risk,” Smith, R-N.J., said on Newsmax’s “National Report.” “And yet we’ve had this, I think, very foolish mandate imposed upon them.”

Students in New Jersey have been required to wear masks while at school since September 2020, when most schools reopened after a four-month lockdown.

New Jersey will lift its school mask mandates in the second week of March, The New York Times reported Monday.

Mask wearing in schools has been one of the most fiercely debated issues of the COVID-19 pandemic, frequently pitting parents, school boards, teachers, and elected officials against each other in emotionally-charged exchanges about personal liberty, parental choice, learning losses and public health.

Murphy’s decision comes after Gov. Tom Wolf, D-Pa., dropped his state’s school mask mandate last month, the Times reported.

Continuing on the subject of mandates, Smith said that COVID-19 vaccine mandates should also be scrapped.

“The same goes with vaccines,” Smith said. “They should be voluntary, not mandatory. For children especially, there’s not a good body of evidence at all about its efficacy and safety, especially its safety.”

The Los Angeles Times reported that COVID-19 vaccines would be mandated for California students under a bill introduced Jan. 24.

If passed by the legislature and signed by the governor, California state Senate Bill 871 would add COVID-19 vaccines to California’s list of required shots to attend K-12 schools. Students would only be able to opt out if they receive a rare medical exemption.

During his appearance, Smith also spoke to the tension between Russia and Ukraine, saying that President Joe Biden’s performance as a leader on the world stage is troubling.

“After Afghanistan, and the message that that sent, which is profound, and all in the negative, our European partners and our friends and allies are less likely to listen to and adhere to any kind of reported leadership by President Biden,” Smith said. “That’s very serious. Remember, Crimea [in 2014] happened right after the Olympics, and I am very, very concerned with this build up that a war may be imminent.”

Concerning the Winter Olympic Games, Smith said that Beijing should not have been allowed to host.

“I’m the one, along with [Sen.] Marco Rubio, who wrote the IOC [International Olympic Committee] back in 2018 saying, ‘Move the venue,'” Smith said. “Do not allow a genocidal regime under Xi Jinping, who has committed atrocities. He ought to be at The Hague for crimes against humanity and for genocide, not hosting the Olympic Games and getting a standing ovation.

“Now, I’ve chaired 75 congressional hearings on human rights abuses in China, I’ve written many resolutions on it. It is the worst it has been, under Xi Jinping. We’re back to Mao Tse-tung’s type of reign, where you crush the opposition and they’re doing it with all faiths, but they’re doing it with particular hatred towards the Muslims, the Uyghurs.”

Rep. Chris Smith to Newsmax: ‘It’s about Time’ School Mask Mandates Were Lifted |