Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) told Fox News’ Jesse Watters on Sunday that he believes some of the newly imposed COVID-19 restrictions have become excessive to the point of ridicule and urged state and local leaders to be mindful of constitutionally-enshrined freedoms.
In an appearance on Watters’ World, the Ohio Republican was presented with some examples of restrictions, including Pennsylvanians having to wear masks inside their own homes whenever people from different households are gathered, or Ohioans at weddings not being allowed to dance or socialize in open congregate areas, with the exception of the traditional first dance between bride and groom.
Joking about Ohio’s no dancing rule, Watters said, “that probably works out for you because I heard you’re a terrible dancer, congressman.”
“It’s ridiculous,” Jordan replied. “In Ohio, you now have to be in your home by 10 o’clock. In Pennsylvania, when you’re in your home, you have to wear a mask. And in Vermont, when you’re in your home, you don’t have to wear a mask because you’re not allowed to have friends over,” he continued, adding, “This has gotten so ridiculous and we forget this is America.”
Jordan then referred to an April 26 memo (pdf) put out by Attorney General William Barr, which addressed the issue of balancing public safety concerns with the preservation of civil rights. In it, Barr called lockdowns and other restrictions imposed at the time in response to the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus as “necessary in order to stop the spread of a deadly disease,” but added that “they have imposed tremendous burdens on the daily lives of all Americans” and urged U.S. attorneys to be on the lookout for state and local directives that may be violating Americans’ constitutional rights and civil liberties.
In concluding his memo, Barr wrote that, “the Constitution is not suspended in times of crisis. We must therefore be vigilant to ensure its protections are preserved, at the same time that the public is protected.”
Jordan, in remarks to Watters, reiterated Barr’s line that, “the Constitution is not suspended during a crisis,” and added, “Amen to that.”
Then, echoing the perspective that many Republican officials have expressed when weighing the prospect of tighter restrictions, Jordan said Americans should be trusted to exercise good judgment and stressed personal responsibility over government mandates.
A notable voice in this regard has been South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican who has resisted imposing restrictions. She wrote in a recent op-ed that in meetings with mayors and other community leaders, “time and time again, they thanked me for allowing them to have the flexibility to continue to provide for their communities, to innovate to help their neighbors, and to put food on the table.”
“I knew that South Dakotans could be trusted to exercise their personal responsibility, and each and every one of these people have proven me right,” she wrote. “I owe tremendous thanks to the small business owners who are keeping our economy strong and growing stronger, who are providing for their communities while working to keep their neighbors healthy.”
In his remarks to Watters, Jordan said “I think the small business owner who’s running their business cares deeply about the wellbeing of their employees, deeply about the wellbeing of their customers, exercises common sense and good judgment.”
“Let them operate their business, for goodness sake,” he added.