On Wednesday, President Joe Biden criticized the governors of Mississippi and Texas for announcing that their state mask mandates and COVID restrictions would be lifted.
Biden said it was “neanderthal thinking” to White House reporters, adding, “I think it’s a big mistake.”
NEW: President Biden calls Texas and Mississippi decisions to end mask mandates “a big mistake" and criticizes what he views as “Neanderthal thinking” after CDC warned against complacency in the face of emerging coronavirus variants on Monday. pic.twitter.com/Mmdln3gNG6
— NBC News (@NBCNews) March 3, 2021
Biden: ‘The Last Thing We Need Is Neanderthal Thinking’
The president made his remarks during an Oval Office meeting with Congressional Democrats.
“The last thing, the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime, everything’s fine, take off your mask, forget it,” Biden said.
Biden then said that everyone, including political leaders, should “follow the science.”
Biden continued, “It’s critical, critical, critical that they follow the science,” adding that Americans “should wash their hands, wear a mask and stay socially distanced.”
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The president let the reporters know that he understood they all understood what he was saying, but perhaps not elected officials in states like Mississippi and Texas.
“I know you all know that,” Biden emphasized. “I wish to heck some of our elected officials knew it.”
Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves Fires Back
Republican Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves tweeted in response on Wednesday, ‘President Biden said allowing Mississippians to decide how to protect themselves is “neanderthal thinking.”
President Biden said allowing Mississippians to decide how to protect themselves is “neanderthal thinking.”
Mississippians don’t need handlers. As numbers drop, they can assess their choices and listen to experts. I guess I just think we should trust Americans, not insult them.
— Tate Reeves (@tatereeves) March 3, 2021
“Mississippians don’t need handlers,” Reeves continued. “As numbers drop, they can assess their choices and listen to experts.”
“I guess I just think we should trust Americans, not insult them,” Reeves shot back at Biden.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki criticized governors for lifting mask mandates earlier on Wednesday.
Psaki said, “The entire country has paid the price for political leaders who ignored the science when it comes to the pandemic.”
Psaki made her remarks during Wednesday’s White House while answering reporter questions about the Biden administration’s response to Texas and Mississippi lifting their mask mandates.
Psaki responds to governors of Texas and Mississippi ending mask mandates and rolling back COVID restrictions: "This entire country has paid the price for political leaders who ignored the science when it comes to the pandemic" https://t.co/ZbSo2M7nuo pic.twitter.com/vwHTa3nbQP
— CBS News (@CBSNews) March 3, 2021
CDC Encourages Americans To Still Wear Masks
The White House Press Secretary said that Biden would probably take “the next opportunity he has” to reach out to Texas Governor Greg Abbott.
“He’s hopeful that people in these states will continue to follow the guidelines that have been set out and the recommendations made by health and medical experts,” Psaki said.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a briefing on Wednesday morning that even if the state mandates end, Americans should still “do the right thing” and continue to wear masks.
“Every individual is empowered to do the right thing here regardless of what the states decide,” said Walensky.
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