Republican West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice knocked some states’ decisions to end their mask mandates, warning Friday they could experience “whiplash” from making the decision too early and suggesting it was an attempt to garner media attention.
MSNBC Live host Stephanie Ruhle asked Justice about the states that decided to end their mask mandates, and whether he was facing pressure from businesses or constituents to end West Virginia’s mandate. (RELATED: Sen. Marsha Blackburn Defends Literal Neanderthals After Joe Biden Calls Decision To Lift Mask Mandates ‘Neanderthal Thinking’)
“Really, Stephanie, not much … I mean we do hear it some, but — and believe me, I don’t like the masks either … I would really subscribe to just this. I would say one robin doesn’t make spring,” Justice responded. “If we instantaneously react sometimes it could be kind of foolish because all the sudden we may turn around and look at some really bad weather, winter weather that’s still to come.”
He continued, saying West Virginia is “going to be a little more cautious” and not “just jump right into that pool” yet.
“A lot of people want to do that to make a big splash and everything. Maybe get themselves in the news and everything,” Justice said. “But West Virginia’s done the prudent and right thing along the way, and we’re going to continue to do that.”
Ruhle then asked if he thought it was “premature” to reopen everything at 100% capacity. She noted everyone wants to fully reopen but asked if he thought it was safe to do so at the moment.
“Well, in a lot of ways … we have relaxed, you know, from a standpoint that we’re 75% capacity in our restaurants and bars, and we’ve increased the size of our gatherings and everything. We’re probably going to relax a little bit more, you know, and we’re going to do that today, a little bit later today,” Justice answered.
“But as far as just wholesale opening up, 100% and everything, you know, I don’t know why just a little more caution isn’t the very best medicine,” he continued. “If we don’t watch out I’m always afraid of whiplash that could come.”
The governors of Texas and Mississippi announced Tuesday they were ending their mask mandates and fully reopening their states. President Joe Biden has criticized their decisions, describing them as examples of “Neanderthal thinking.” Senior White House medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci has also encouraged citizens of Texas and Mississippi to continue wearing masks despite the mandates being lifted.