Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., blasted Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in a Thursday tweet for wearing both a face shield and a mask when arriving in the Philippines for talks.
Rubio wrote: "Our @SecDef is vaccinated. But he arrives in the Philippines wearing a mask AND a face shield. Embarrassing COVID THEATER."
He retweeted a clip of Austin being greeted by mostly military personnel as he came off his plane in the Philippines. Dressed in a dark suit and wearing the shield and mask, Austin can been seen fist-bumping and saluting the military officers.
The Associated Press noted that Austin had met with his Vietnamese counterpart on Thursday before leaving for the Philippines. The White House has vowed support for Southeast Asian nations in territorial disputes with China.
Vietnam and the Philippines are among China’s fiercest opponents in the territorial disputes in the South China Sea, according to the AP.
And ABS-CBN News in the Philippines reported that Austin was scheduled to meet with President Rodrigo Duterte before talking with Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.
The officials were set to discuss mutual security concerns and how the Philippines and the U.S. could strengthen their alliance.
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