Josh Mandel, a Republican running in the GOP Senate primary in Ohio, posted a short video of him setting fire to his mask to celebrate “freedom” as the state’s mask mandate was officially lifted on June 2.


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So far, around 45% of Americans are fully vaccinated against the COVID-19. As a result, many states including Ohio have lifted restrictions regarding face masks and other restrictions related to the virus.

Mandel is not the only Republican to use the relaxing restrictions as a political weapon.

Ohio’s Attorney General Dave Yost also uploaded a similar video of him taking off his mask and torching it with a lighter.

Both Republicans have received hundreds of negative comments from their respective posts.

Fred Wellman, The Lincoln Project’s Executive Directly, criticized Mandel for not treating the pandemic seriously.

“Wait… was that supposed to make you look tough? Like a freedom fighter? You burned a mask?” Wellman tweeted. “I remember our patients leaving the COVID Field Hospital in NYC last year. One guy couldn’t lift his arms to scratch his nose after 8 weeks of fighting the disease. You’re super tough.” 

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