Politics 'Neanderthal thinking': Biden swipes at Texas reopening, mask mandate's end
Fact check: Breaking down Joe Biden's first month of claims
President Joe Biden was more consistently factual in his first month in office than his predecessor ever was in office. But Biden was not perfect.President Joe Biden was more consistently factual in his first month in office than his predecessor ever was in office. But Biden was not perfect himself.
President Biden is lashing out at Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott over his decision to re-open businesses and rollback his statewide mask mandate during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, calling it "Neanderthal thinking."
Biden slammed decisions being made by states such as Texas and Mississippi to relax coronavirus restrictions, including social distancing measures and face covering orders, as "a big mistake."
"Masks make a difference," Biden told reporters Wednesday before a bipartisan White House meeting on cancer. "The last thing, the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime, everything's fine, take off your mask, forget it."
White House defends Biden 'Neanderthal' quip as 'a reflection of his frustration'
The White House is standing by President Biden for accusing Republican governors who have lifted coronavirus business restrictions and ended mask orders of "Neanderthal thinking."White House press secretary Jen Psaki defended Biden's comments Thursday when she was asked whether that language was helpful in convincing governors to keep coronavirus restrictions in place as federal and state governments work to ramp up their COVID-19 vaccination programs.
Abbott this week announced Texas would reopen "100%" and that the state's mask mandate would end, effective next week.
"Everybody who wants to work should have that opportunity. Every business that wants to be open should be open,"
The governor, who was by Biden's side on Friday when the president toured winter storm damage in the Lone Star State, cited Texas' access to testing facilities, personal protective gear, and vaccinations as primary drivers behind his decision.
The White House is at a messaging crossroads. On Tuesday, Biden announced his administration had secured enough vaccine doses to inoculate every adult in the country against COVID-19. A day earlier, Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warned against stalling progress with case counts, hospitalizations, and deaths as variants continue to spread.
GOP West Virginia Governor Suggests Abbott Trying to Do 'Macho Thing' by Lifting Mask Mandates
"We're going to do the smart thing in West Virginia," Governor Jim Justice said, noting that he'd continue to follow the advice of experts.Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves, both Republicans, announced on Tuesday that they would be lifting their statewide mask mandates. Abbott's new executive order will end the mask mandate next week and will allow all businesses across Texas to be open at 100 percent capacity. Reeves issued a similar new executive order on Tuesday, with his state's mask mandate ending on Wednesday of this week. The decisions drew significant criticism from health experts, lawmakers and the White House.
Biden last Friday traveled to Texas to see firsthand the devastation wreaked on the state by a series of winter storms. White House press secretary Jen Psaki had told reporters earlier Wednesday Biden was hopeful that people in Texas and Mississippi would "continue to follow the guidelines that have been set out."
"For nearly a year, we've been dealing, and navigating, and coping with this pandemic," she said. "And this entire country has paid the price for political leaders who ignored the science."
Tags:, , , ,
Texas Mayor Calls Governor's Lifting Mask Mandate 'Wrong,' Apologizes for Mexico Trip .
"I'm disappointed that the mandate is being withdrawn. Our governor has said that it's still important to wear masks, and I appreciate that. But removing the mandate, I think we create an ambiguity," Austin Mayor Steve Adler said."I have been really hard and really insistent that the mandate shouldn't have gone away," Adler told Fox News host Neil Cavuto. "We try to be guided by science and the data, and removing the mandate is not being guided by the science and the data.