The former U.S. surgeon general who served under then President Donald Trump has hit out at a judge’s decision to lift a mask mandate on airplanes, trains and buses that was imposed by the Biden administration.
Jerome Adams, who served as surgeon general from 2017 to 2021, took to Twitter on Monday and criticized U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle’s ruling that has brought an end to federal facemask requirements on transportation and left the decision on mask enforcement up to individual transportation providers.
Adams shared a CNN article headlined “CDC mask mandate for travelers struck down by federal judge.”
“Restate this headline. I’ll go first: Federal Judge says kids under 5 with chronic illnesses- stay home, or you’re on your own!” Adams wrote.
The former surgeon general later retweeted his own post and added: “This isn’t just about planes. This means a 4 year old kid with cancer who’s parents have no vehicle might be forced to sit next to a floridly sick / coughing covid patient with no mask on a bus, while going to get chemo.”
“But tell me about the great ventilation systems on those…” Adams said.
Adams went on to say in a further tweet that “millions of parents” of children under five years old had “just got the middle finger from a federal judge.”
Adams also tagged President Joe Biden’s official Twitter account as part of his criticism of the judge’s ruling, asking what the White House’s plan was now on a number of issues, including vaccinating under fives, improving ventilation, making “good fitting N95s available to ALL who want them” and “a focus on long covid.”
“There’s lots we could still be doing to protect the vulnerable. Will we?” Adams added.
Newsweek has asked the White House for comment.
Judge Mizelle was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida by former President Trump in August 2020 and confirmed by the then Republican-controlled Senate three months later. She was just 33 at the time, making her one of the nation’s youngest federal judges.
In her 59-page ruling on Monday, Mizelle wrote that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had failed to justify the mandate and that it exceeded CDC’s authority.
The judge said that the only remedy was to void the mandate in its entirety as it wasn’t possible lift the requirement only for those who had brought the lawsuit.
“Because our system does not permit agencies to act unlawfully even in pursuit of desirable ends, the court declares unlawful and vacates the mask mandate,” Mizelle wrote.
A number of major U.S. airlines have already said they will lift their mask requirements, while Amtrak and Uber have done the same. However, the Biden administration may still appeal the ruling.