"The Legendary Dolly Parton helped to fund Moderna's vaccine. Carrie Underwood liked a tweet by an anti-vaccine MAGA propagandist. Always be a Dolly," wrote one commenter. Added another: "Carrie Underwood please listen to Dolly Parton on this one & put a mask on your child !!!!!!!!!!"
A Twitter user who uses the handle "Covid Underwood" wrote, "So Carrie Underwood is an anti-masker? Jesus take the wheel indeed." Meanwhile, author and Unitarian pastor John Pavlovitz tweeted, "Carrie Underwood being a God-over-Science person is the least surprising thing I've heard today. Delta take the wheel..."
Jeremy Hooper, political consultant and founder of LGBTQ rights website Good As You, weighed in as well. "It’s not just that Carrie Underwood liked an anti-mask tweet," he shared. "It’s that Carrie Underwood liked an anti-mask tweet from Matt Walsh, one of those most negligently histrionic voices on the topic of protecting kids from COVID."
Even as Underwood was assailed by some, Walsh came to her defense in two sarcasm-filled followup tweets, writing that the singer "liked my video and now the mob is coming for her. She should know better than to like something that they don't like. This is an unforgivable sin." He also said, "Like anyone else, I am upset and disturbed that Carrie Underwood liked one of my tweets. She should know better than to indirectly endorse the opinions of an extremist and scoundrel such as myself. Her lack of judgement is appalling. I demand that she renounce me and apologize."
A spokesperson for Underwood -- who has two children with former hockey player Mike Fisher, who recently claimed that COVID lockdowns don't work -- had not returned Billboard's request for comment at press time. The tweet is still liked on the country star's account.
Walsh, a father of four, claimed that the board's arguments for mask mandates lacked "evidence, data, science, common sense and basic human decency," though Politifact recently stated that scientists have found little evidence that masks worn by students "negatively affect oxygen or carbon dioxide levels." The site also noted that many experts have pointed to research that mask-wearing is effective in protecting children from COVID-19 and preventing COVID transmission in schools.
As COVID cases have spiked across the country due to the highly contagious Delta variant, the Tennessee Commercial Appeal reported this week that the state is no longer reporting coronavirus cases in school districts. With children under 12 not eligible for the vaccines yet, experts have raised concerns that the more transmissible variant could help drive up infections among the unvaccinated, even if it doesn't impact children's health as seriously adults'.
In Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis has issued a statewide order prohibiting mandatory masking in schools and briefly threatened to withhold the salaries of school officials who defied his order, nearly 9,000 students and teachers are in isolation or quarantine after just one week of school. Along with Texas, the Republican-led Florida has taken the lead in rejecting masking and vaccine mandates even as local hospitals in both states are facing overflowing ICUs filled with mostly unvaccinated patients.
Check out the tweets below.