Trump's Surgeon General Jerome Adams: 'Deeply Troubling' States Banning Masks in Schools

Jerome Adams, who previously served as President Donald Trump's surgeon general, said on Tuesday that it is "deeply troubling" to see some states banning masks in schools amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

While appearing on CBS This Morning on Tuesday, Adams was asked about states that have imposed laws preventing schools from imposing mask mandates. For instance, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has said that his state could withhold funding to schools that impose mask mandates for students and staff.

"As a physician, as a public health expert, it's deeply troubling that it seems we're letting politics get in the way of protecting our youth," Adams said in response. "As a father, I quite frankly think it's unconscionable."

"As a physician, as a public health expert, it's deeply troubling that it seems we're letting politics get in the way of protecting our youth. As a father, I quite frankly think it's unconscionable." — Fmr. U.S. Surgeon General @JeromeAdamsMD on some states banning mask mandates

— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) August 10, 2021

The former surgeon general continued: "I think you can't tie the hands of school and public health officials based on what you perceive to be the reality when your public health officials are telling you they need these tools."

In addition to Florida, states such as Arizona, Iowa, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Oklahoma have also implemented laws to prevent schools from mandating masks for students and staff members.

Despite the laws in these states, some local school districts have decided to mandate masks following guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which recommended that all students and staff wear masks when indoors, regardless of their vaccination status. The New York Times reported that school officials in Florida's Broward, Leon, Duval and Alachua counties have said they plan to keep mask mandates in place.

In addition to Adams, U.S, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona also recently spoke about the ongoing feud about mask mandates in schools, saying: "We're clearly at a fork in the road in this country."

"You're either going to help students be in school in-person and be safe, or the decisions you make will hurt students. While I understand the argument around not wanting to wear masks because we're fatigued, without question student safety and staff safety come first," Cardona said on CBS News' Face the Nation Sunday.

During his appearance on CBS This Morning, Adams also spoke about the current COVID-19 situation across the U.S.

"We're gonna see increasing hospitalizations," he said. "Fortunately, with higher vaccination rates, we're not gonna see as many deaths as we could otherwise see. But it's gonna be a really tough next couple of weeks."

Newsweek reached out to Adams for further comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Face mask mandates
Former U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said it is "deeply troubling" to see states banning masks in schools. Above, people walk out of a store requesting that people wear masks on July 26, 2021 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty