US GOP West Virginia Governor Suggests Abbott Trying to Do 'Macho Thing' by Lifting Mask Mandates
Did Ted Cruz's Cancun trip distract from the biggest political failure in Texas?
Unless you have been living on another planet for the last few weeks, you know that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) went to Cancun -- for a day -- while his state was in the grips of extreme cold weather and massive failure of its power grid. © Lynda M. Gonzalez/Pool//Getty Images Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announces the reopening of more Texas businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic at a press conference at the Texas State Capitol in Austin on Monday, May 18, 2020. Cruz's terrible judgment -- and weak attempt to explain that poor judgment -- drew national (and international) headlines.
West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, a Republican, took issue with fellow GOP governors in Texas and Mississippi lifting their statewide mask mandates as the COVID-19 pandemic persists, suggesting that they made the decision to do "almost a macho thing."
Texas Governorand Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves, both , announced on Tuesday that they would be lifting their statewide mask mandates. Abbott's will end the mask mandate next week and will allow all businesses across Texas to be open at 100 percent capacity. Reeves 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.
Texas governor lifts mask mandate and allows businesses to open at 100% capacity, despite health officials' warnings
Gov. Greg Abbott announced Tuesday he's lifting the mask mandate in Texas, even as health officials warn not to ease safety restrictions. © Lynda M. Gonzalez/Pool//Getty Images Texas Governor Greg Abbott announces the reopening of more Texas businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic at a press conference at the Texas State Capitol in Austin on Monday, May 18, 2020. Abbott made the announcement during a Lubbock Chamber of Commerce event where he issued an executive order rescinding most of his earlier executive orders like the mask mandate.
"The one thing I'm not going to do in West Virginia, I'm not going to let this become a political football. I mean, I really, I don't want to be critical but some of these people want to just move because it's the most politically correct thing that they can do. You know, it becomes almost a macho thing and everything," Justice said during a Thursday interview within response to the mask mandates being lifted. "In West Virginia, we want to be cautious, we want to be safe..."
"If we continue to vaccinate more and more and more, we'll get rid of the mask. But I don't know really what the big rush to get rid of the mask is because these masks have saved a lot, a lot of lives," West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice says as states start lifting mask mandates pic.twitter.com/WJoVRRLaDs
Texas Reopens Despite Only Californians Dying From COVID in Higher Numbers
"With this executive order, we are ensuring that all businesses and families in Texas have the freedom to determine their own destiny," said Governor Greg Abbott.Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order on Tuesday lifting the state's mask mandate and increasing the capacity limits of all businesses and facilities to 100 percent. It takes effect next Wednesday, March 10.— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) March 4, 2021
"In the end, we're going to do the smart thing in West Virginia," Justice added, questioning why there was a "big rush" to lift the mandates. "These masks have saved a lot, a lot of lives."
The West Virginia governor pointed out that everyone is getting sick of face coverings, but he asserted he plans to continue following the advice of health experts in his state.
When reached for comment on Thursday afternoon, a spokesperson for Abbott referred Newsweek to the Texas governor's remarks with radio station KFYO after the
"The biggest reason why we're seeing reduction in hospitalizations is because of all those vaccines that have been administered and will be administered, and we needed to delay this announcement until we saw that the vaccination distribution process was back up and running at full speed," Abbott said.
Texas Gov. Abbott faces backlash after lifting coronavirus restrictions
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is facing a torrent of criticism over his surprise decision to roll back his state's mask mandate and business restrictions -- moves that strategists and activists in both parties said are aimed at appeasing an impatient Republican base ahead of his 2022 reelection bid and with an eye on the 2024 presidential race. © Justin Rex/AP Texas Governor Greg Abbott delivers an announcement in Montelongo's Mexican Restaurant on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, in Lubbock, Texas. Abbott announced that he is rescinding executive orders that limit capacities for businesses and the state wide mask mandate.
The governor noted that vaccines were being ramped up significantly in Texas, saying this would "dramatically increase" Texans' immunity to COVID-19.
Newsweek reached out to Reeves' press office for comment, but did not immediately receive a response.
Presidentstrongly criticized the decisions to end mask mandates.
"I think it's a big mistake. Look, I hope everybody's realized by now, these masks make a difference. 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," Biden said.
"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," the president added.
Health experts have cautioned that people should continue to wear masks even after they are vaccinated, as it's still unclear how well the vaccines prevent COVID-19 transmission and how much immunity they have against new variants of the novel virus. Meanwhile, even though infections have dropped across the country, the seven-day average of new daily infections still remains above 64,000, and an average of more than 1,700 Americans are dying from COVID-19 every day.
West Virginia Guv Slams Texas Reopening as Performative ‘Macho Thing’
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice on Thursday slammed his fellow Republican governors in Texas and Mississippi for rushing to reopen their states and lift mask mandates amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, describing their actions as a performative “macho thing.” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, reeling from criticism over his handling of the winter storm that left millions in his state without power and water, announced earlier this week that he was reopening the state “100 percent” and reversing mask requirements, despite all known variants of COVID-19 currently circulating in the Lone Star State.
Ken Paxton, Texas Attorney General, Looking at How to 'Stop' Austin's Mask Mandate .
"The state-wide mask mandate is lifted today. Yet once again, Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Judge Andy Brown are trying to figure out how they can buck state law and resist Governor Greg Abbott," Paxton tweeted."The state-wide mask mandate is lifted today. Yet once again, Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Judge Andy Brown are trying to figure out how they can buck state law and resist Governor Greg Abbott," Paxton tweeted.