Mask, vaccine mandates fuel new round of tea party protests

www.washingtontimes.com
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Tea Party Patriots faded from prominence during the Trump administration but now plans dozens of rallies around the country Wednesday, spurred into action by government mandates for masks and vaccines.
Jenny Beth Martin, a co-founder of the group, said the anger nationwide over mandates reminds her of the rage that gave birth to the tea party 12 years ago. The outrage over the government's response to the pandemic, she said, is driving a new generation of conservative activists.

"There is a similar kind of anger and a similar willingness to speak out in the first year of the Biden administration as in the first year of the Obama administration," Ms. Martin said.

Still, the new generation isn't your typical tea partyers. Many are working with the movement but not necessarily joining tea party organizations.

Tea Party Patriots is staging at least 28 rallies in 17 states to protest local government and hospital requirements of masks and vaccines.

The rallies, often organized as sign-waving events, will also protest President Biden's order this month for new regulations for businesses with more than 100 employees to require workers to be vaccinated or submit to weekly COVID-19 tests. He also ordered the vaccine mandate for federal and health care workers.

The debate over the mandates fits neatly within the tea party's core tenet of opposing government overreach.

"The government is deciding a one-size-fits-all solution to health care treatment," said Ms. Martin, now honorary chairwoman of Tea Party Action. "That simply should not be the case. Individuals should be making decisions with their doctors."

The newcomers to the tea party are younger than the over-50 crowd who first put the movement on the political map by crashing lawmakers' town hall meetings and…
Kery Murakami
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