“I would really love to see in North Dakota that we could just skip this thing that other parts of the nation are going through where they’re trading a divide — either its ideological or political or something — around masks versus no mask,” Burgum said. “This is a, I would say, senseless dividing line, and I would ask people to try and dial up your empathy and your understanding.”

The subtext of the remarks was pretty clear: This is a needless culture war.

Burgum then want on, getting emotional.

“If someone is wearing a mask, they’re not doing it to represent what political party they’re in or what candidates they support,” Burgum said, before his voice began breaking. “They might be doing it because they’ve got a 5-year-old child who’s been going through cancer treatments. They might have vulnerable adults in their life who currently have covid, and they’re fighting.”