Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves, as expected, is fervently defending his decision to (once again) lift the state’s mask mandate.

In a CNN interview that aired over the weekend, Reeves was urged by reporter Jake Tapper to acknowledge that we’re just “not there yet” in terms of easing pandemic policies, specifically noting that cases rose again after he previously ended mandates in late 2020.

“Well, the fact is that in our state, throughout this pandemic, our approach has been to not only protect lives but also protect livelihoods,” Reeves, who also expressed support for questioning Biden’s election during the interview, said. “We have to get our economy rolling so that individuals can get back to work and I think that is critically important.”

The current POTUS, Reeves said, wants to “insult Americans and insult Mississippians.” In Reeves’ opinion, Mississippians can be trusted to make their own “good decisions” when it comes to the pandemic. And later, Reeves conceded that the state’s goal has never been about ridding themselves of the virus.

“Our objective has never been to rid ourselves of the virus or make sure that no Mississippian actually gets the virus because we don’t think that’s a realistic goal,” he said. “Our goal is to ensure that we protect the integrity of our healthcare system such that every single Mississippian that gets the virus that can get better with quality care receives that quality care.”

Elsewhere, Tapper reminded Reeves that studies have shown an increase in both infection rates and death rates in areas without enforced mask policies, though that did nothing in terms of shifting Reeves’ mind.

Reeves announced earlier this month via an executive order that mask mandates and pandemic-related business restrictions would be replaced with “nonbonding recommendations” to continue honoring CDC guidelines. The move has been widely criticized, including by Biden’s chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Mississippi, as shown in an Axios-published tracking service, saw an increase in new cases of 62 percent over a seven-day period earlier this month.