Politics President Joe Biden slams governors for lifting mask mandates, calls it 'Neanderthal thinking'
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.
- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, both republicans, announced Tuesday they would allow businesses to reopen at 100% capacity and lift mask mandates.
- President Joe Biden on Wednesday called the decisions a "big mistake."
- "The last thing, the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking, that, 'In the meantime, everything's fine. Take off your mask. Forget it.' It still matters," Biden said.
President Joe Biden on Wednesday slammed states that rolled back Covid-19 restrictions on businesses and rescinded mask mandates for residents, calling the moves a "big mistake."
New mask wars threaten Biden's pandemic response at critical moment
Texas and Mississippi lifting restrictions comes at a particularly sensitive moment. The U.S. is showing signs of turning the corner on hospitalizations and deaths from the crisis’ January peak. The federal government has deployed tens of millions of Covid vaccines, with far more on the way in the coming weeks.And just hours before Texas and Mississippi dropped their restrictions, Biden was touting a new vaccine manufacturing deal that puts the country on track to have enough doses for every American adult by May.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, bothand lift mask mandates. Biden's remarks were in response to shouted questions from the press specifically about the two states.
"Look, I hope everybody's realized by now these masks make a difference," Biden told reporters at the White House. "We are on the cusp of being able to fundamentally change the nature of this disease because of the way in which we're able to get vaccines in people's arms... The last thing, the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking, that, 'In the meantime, everything's fine. Take off your mask. Forget it.' It still matters."
He added that it is "critical, critical, critical" that state officials "follow the science" and encourage Americans to continue to wear masks and follow all public health guidelines.
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.
"I know you all know that," Biden told reporters. "I wish the heck some of our elected officials would."
In announcing their decisions, Reeves and Abbott both cited the declining number of new Covid-19 cases and the increasing availability of vaccines as reasons for ending the restrictions. But federal officials have been warning that the decline in new cases appears to be stalling out and that the emergence of new coronavirus variants could lead to a resurgence.
Representatives for Abbott and Reeves did not immediately return CNBC's request for comment.
On Monday, before the two governors made their announcements, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warned state officials against lifting public health restrictions too quickly.
This is a developing story. Check back here for updates.
Biden's 'Neanderthal Thinking' Remark Prompts Furor in Mississippi, Texas .
"When President Biden said that we were all Neanderthals, it struck me as someone who needs to get outside of Washington, D.C., and actually travel to Middle America," Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves, who recently lifted the statewide mask mandate, said in response to the president's remarks.Biden told reporters it "a big mistake" that some governors are loosening COVID-19 restrictions on Wednesday, adding, "The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking.