On Tuesday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced they were eliminating statewide mask mandates and would allow businesses to operate at 100 percent capacity. Though health experts have cautioned against such rollbacks, the governors cited decreasing hospitalizations and increasing vaccinations as the main factors behind their decisions. Biden called the orders “a big mistake” and urged the Republican governors to “follow the science.”
“I think it’s a big mistake. 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. We’ve been able to move that up to the end of May, to have enough for every adult American to get a [vaccine] shot. 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 to continued: “It’s critical, critical, critical that they follow the science. Wash your hands … do it frequently; wear a mask; and stay socially distanced. I know you all know that. I wish the heck some of our elected officials knew it.”
A number of Twitter users applauded Biden’s response to the controversial repeals, saying the “Neanderthal” line was more than appropriate.
Gov. Reeves fired back at Biden in a Wednesday afternoon tweet, insisting his constituents were capable of making their own choices and didn’t “need handlers.”
Biden’s comments came just a day after he gave an encouraging update on the vaccine rollout, claiming there will be enough shots for every American adult by the end of May.