Idaho Lt. Gov. Issued Mask Mandate Ban While Governor Was Out of Town. Here's What He Did When He Returned.

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Posted: May 31, 2021 2:30 PM
Idaho Lt. Gov. Issued Mask Mandate Ban While Governor Was Out of Town. Here's What He Did When He Returned.

Source: AP Photo/Otto Kitsinger, File

Idaho Gov. Brad Little blasted the actions his Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin took while he had to travel out of state last week, calling the move an “irresponsible, self-serving political stunt.” Upon returning, the Republican governor rescinded the ban on mask mandates. 

While Little did not have a statewide mask mandate in place, he disagreed with taking power away from local officials to make public health decisions.  

"An executive order that was issued while I was out of state this week runs contrary to a basic conservative principle – the government closest to the people governs best," Little said in a statement. "I do not like petty politics. I do not like political stunts over the rule of law." 

In the order McGeachin signed, local officials could not put mask mandates in place. 

"Taking the earliest opportunity to act solitarily on a highly politicized, polarizing issue without conferring with local jurisdictions, legislators, and the sitting Governor is, simply put, an abuse of power," Little said. "This kind of over-the-top executive action amounts to tyranny – something we all oppose."

But McGeachin countered, saying Little’s decision to rescind her order took away “personal freedom.”

"It is your God-given right to make your own health decisions, and no state, city, or school district ever has the authority to violate your unalienable rights," she wrote Friday. "I remain undeterred and unwavering in my commitment to defend your rights and freedoms against all who would violate them."

McGeachin announced lasted week she is running for governor in Idaho's Republican primary. 

"I am not running for governor to be popular or because it is easy," she explained on her website. "This job is hard work and it requires making difficult decisions that aren't always appreciated."