Two leading local officials pushing mask mandates and exhorting Texans not to gather for Thanksgiving have been photographed going against their own advice. Citizens responded by expressing their displeasure, with one grassroots leader calling for “peaceful noncompliance” with coronavirus mandates.
Days before Thanksgiving, Tarrant County commissioners approved of their spokesman—County Judge Glen Whitley (R)—extending the countywide mask mandate to February 28, prompting a strong rebuke from citizens and Republican Party of Texas Chairman Allen West.
Whitley previously asked Gov. Greg Abbott for permission to fine citizens for not wearing a mask.
In June, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins (D) pushed through a second countywide mask mandate—only Commissioners J.J. Koch (R) and John Wiley Price (D) voted no—and was among those pushing Abbott to enact a statewide mandate.
Like Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden, Jenkins also called for a nationwide mask mandate.
Both Whitley and Jenkins also warned families to avoid large Thanksgiving gatherings.
A photo surfaced on Thanksgiving Day of several cars parked at a house in Hurst, Texas, that—according to the Tarrant Appraisal District—is owned by Whitley and his wife.
The photo was taken by citizen Jodi Mueller. No cars could be seen parked in front of the house on Sunday evening.
“Judge Whitley (aka Twitley) told all of us to only eat at home with our immediate family and to wear masks during Thanksgiving,” posted True Texas Project CEO Julie McCarty. “Meanwhile he’s got 5 vehicles and an RV at his house!”
On August 16, Whitley’s daughter posted a photo of him without a mask at her birthday party.
Both photos were posted after commissioners extended Tarrant’s mask mandate to the end of November.
A photo of Dallas County Judge Jenkins at a wedding in October shows that he, unlike most of the attendees, was not wearing a mask.
“He’s such a hypocrite,” one citizen commented on Twitter.
“The rules are for us peasants,” said another.
Neither Whitley or Jenkins responded to press inquiries about these images before publication time.
They aren’t the only elected officials in Texas caught going against what they suggest or mandate. In April, Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell was fined $1,000 for violating his own stay-at-home order.
Gov. Greg Abbott—whose statewide mask mandate is still in effect—was also photographed not practicing social distancing or wearing a mask in October at a baseball game at Globe Life Park in Arlington.
“What it shows is that we continue to have an elected class in this country, and us serfs,” 2017 Conservative Leader Award winner Joel Starnes told Texas Scorecard. Going forward, Starnes advises citizens to practice “peaceful noncompliance” with coronavirus mandates.
To that end, Republican Party of Texas Chairman Allen West has called for the Texas Legislature to address “executive overreach” in the upcoming legislative session. “Government exists to protect our rights, not to protect our health. That is an individual responsibility,” he stated.
The 87th Legislative Session starts on January 12, 2021. Concerned citizens may contact their elected state representative and state senator.
This article has been updated since publication.