SARASOTA, FL — A Sarasota U.S. House of Representatives candidate is featured in a new video released by The Lincoln Project, a group of GOP leaders who object to the direction former President Donald Trump has taken the party.
The video includes clips of people sharing anti-mask and anti-vaccine views at school board, city council and other municipal meetings around the country. Since it was released Wednesday evening, the video has had more than 254,000 views on Twitter. (See the video below.)
Sarasota’s Martin Hyde, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan for his District 16 seat in 2022, is the first voice heard in the video, which shows a clip of him speaking against masks at the Aug. 17 Sarasota County School Board meeting.
“The choice here is not whether my son is going to wear a mask, because he is 100 percent not going to,” Hyde said.
A second clip of Hyde speaking at the same meeting is shown a few seconds later.
“This is America, not North Korea,” he said.
School Board Chair Shirley Brown interrupted him, “Please lower the tone. It seems like you’re yelling. Children are listening.”
The board met again three days later for an emergency meeting and passed a 90-day mandatory mask mandate for Sarasota County Schools’ students, teachers and visitors with only a medical exemption available.
Hyde told Patch that he isn’t bothered by his inclusion in the Lincoln Project’s video.
“Satire is free speech and I’m a strong advocate of it. I’m not offended which, perhaps, is a good lesson for those who are perhaps rather sensitive to critique or dissent,” he said.
He wouldn’t comment on whether his son would wear a mask to school or not under the school district’s new mask mandate.
Other speakers featured in the video shared various viewpoints at meetings around the country.
“You’re about to open a pit of hell. You do not get a vaccine passport put on us,” one man yelled.
Another woman suggested people put a spoon on their arm where they received the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Guess what? It’s going to stick to you,” she insisted.
Another woman said, “If God wanted us to cover our mouth and nose, he would have made us that way.”
One man, implying he is a military veteran, indicated violence might be necessary “to save” the United States.
“I’ve been in combat, and I never want to go back again. But I’m telling you what, I will to save this country. If it has to be against our own citizens, it will happen, and there’s a million people like me,” he said.
The Lincoln Project is a political action committee formed in 2019 by Republican political consultants to campaign against former President Donald Trump, who lost his reelection bid last year. Since then, the PAC has focused its efforts on “holding accountable those who would violate their oaths to the Constitution and would put others before Americans,” according to its website.
During the coronavirus pandemic, the PAC has promoted vaccinations and face masks as a means of slowing the spread of the virus. It’s also called out leaders around the country who advocate against vaccine and mask mandates.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been a frequent target in recent weeks during Florida’s current COVID-19 surge.
“No public official in the country has done more to exacerbate the COVID-19 pandemic than (DeSantis),” the Lincoln Project tweeted Wednesday.
In a separate tweet, the PAC wrote, “Mask mandates are more popular and do more to protect Floridians than (DeSantis).”
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