As he vies to lead Virginia again, McAuliffe caught flouting mask mandate
Former Virginia Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe flouted federal regulations requiring masks on public transportation earlier this summer by going uncovered on an Amtrak train from New York to Washington DC, photos obtained by Fox News Digital show.
One of the images shows McAuliffe — who is trying to win another term in his former job this fall — walking down the train aisle with his cell phone glued to his ear and no face mask on.
Over his left shoulder, a sign is visible that reads: “Amtrak requires everyone to wear a face mask. Face masks must fully cover the mouth and nose and secure under the chin. Face masks must always be worn unless actively eating or drinking.”
A second photo shows McAuliffe carrying on a phone conversation in Penn Station’s Moynihan Train Hall, where he is also not wearing a mask.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has required masks to be worn onboard public transportation, as well as at transit hubs, since Jan. 29. The Amtrak passenger who took the photos and shared them with Fox News said McAuliffe made his maskless train trip on July 29.
“I’m vaccinated, but Amtrak says put a mask on, so I put a mask on,” the passenger said. “And when I looked around, he kind of highlighted himself because everyone else was wearing a mask.”
The passenger added that McAuliffe still was not wearing a mask when the train arrived at Union Station in Washington.
“I remember thinking I should say something to him, but didn’t want to start some incident or viral issue,” the passenger told Fox News.
“You have an individual who wants to be a leader of a state here in the United States, and it is an absolute double standard,” the passenger who snapped McAuliffe told Fox News Tuesday. “You have to lead by example.”
McAuliffe’s fellow rail rider added that Americans “are tired of being told to do something by our leaders, and they don’t follow it themselves.”
“Whether you agree with it or not, it is easy enough to throw a mask on for a little while,” the passenger went on. “It seems to be a constant – whether you’re the governor of California or a member of Congress, or someone running for governor of Virginia.”
In a statement to The Post, McAuliffe’s campaign did not respond to the photos, but rather sought to deflect attention to his Republican gubernatorial opponent, Glenn Youngkin.
“Glenn Youngkin has shown Virginians he will be a failure when it comes to controlling this pandemic and rebuilding Virginia’s economy,” spokesperson Renzo Olivari said. “Glenn has an extensive history of not following CDC mask guidelines dating back to the worst periods of the COVID-19 pandemic, and he peddles such dangerous anti-vaxx and anti-mask rhetoric that doctors in Virginia have begged him to stop undermining measures that will prevent the spread of this virus.
“Terry is the only candidate in this race who has a plan to get Virginians vaccinated, keep our kids in schools, and create a better future for all Virginians,” Olivari added.
“Glenn has an extensive history of not following CDC mask guidelines dating back to the worst periods of the COVID-19 pandemic, and he peddles such dangerous anti-vaxx and anti-mask rhetoric that doctors in Virginia have begged him to stop undermining measures that will prevent the spread of this virus,” claimed the spokesman, Renzo Olivari.
“Terry McAuliffe said he wants to make life difficult for everyone else, but apparently he himself has difficulty taking the pandemic seriously and following federal law,” Youngkin spokesman Christian Martinez told The Post in a statement.
“Just like all the other politicians with their mandates, he thinks the rules are for everyone else. McAuliffe failed his own leadership test when he traveled to a COVID hot spot, demonstrating once again that he is all talk and no action.”
McAuliffe, who previously served as Virginia’s governor between 2014 and 2018, is favored to defeat Youngkin in the Nov. 2 election, but polls show the Republican within striking distance. The RealClearPolitics polling average shows McAuliffe with a 5.2 percentage point lead over Youngkin, though no surveys have been taken in the state since August.