Earlier this week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves reopened their states "completely" by repealing mask mandates and allowing businesses to operate at full capacity. President Joe Biden responded to the move by saying, "The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that, in the meantime, everything is fine, take off your mask."
During the White House briefing Thursday, Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked about the language used, particularly the term "neanderthal."
"The behavior of a Neanderthal, just to be very clear," Psaki said. "I think the president, what everybody saw yesterday, was a reflection of his frustration and exasperation, which I think many American people have, that for almost a year now people across the country have sacrificed, at many times they haven’t had information they need from the federal government."
Jen Psaki isn't a bad liar, she's just exhibiting the behavior of a bad liar pic.twitter.com/gOEW8QQYyA— Chris Martin (@chrisjdmartin) March 4, 2021
Abbott responded to the statement during an interview with "Fox and Friends" earlier in the day.
"First, it obviously is not the type of thing that the president should be saying. But, second, he kind of said it on the worst day he could have, because the same day he said that in Texas, the Biden administration was releasing illegal immigrants into our communities who had COVID," Abbott said. "The Biden administration was spreading COVID in south Texas yesterday because of their lack of constraint of testing and quarantining people who come across the border illegally. The Biden administration was exposing Texans to COVID. That is a Neanderthal type approach to dealing with the COVID situation."
"But, more importantly, with regard to the masks, the change in Texas really wasn't all that much different from where we were before for a couple of reasons. First, we are still strongly advocating that every Texan follow the best practice. Where we are today is completely different from where we were this time last year when Texans and Americans didn't know how to deal with this for an entire year. Texans have learned the best practice, and that is to wear a mask. And we still strongly recommend that people do wear a mask," he continued.