Fox News’ White House correspondent Peter Doocy pressed White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Friday as to whether President Joe Biden stands by his previous comment in which he said Republican governors who lifted mask mandates were indulging “Neanderthal thinking.”
“Does the President still think that these red state governors, who were a little bit ahead of the federal government, lifting the mask mandates, had Neanderthal thinking?” Doocy asked.
“I would say that even with this guidance that’s out there, the guidance is not telling states and localities exactly how they should implement,” Psaki responded. “As you know, there are some localities and states in the country that have higher rates of vaccination than others, some communities that have higher rates of vaccination than others. And we even know as this is being implemented that different localities, businesses will implement it in a way that they feel will help ensure their community is safe.”
“But I know I am reassured by listening to the guidance of health and medical experts, not political decision making,” she noted. (RELATED: ‘Too Risky’: Progressive Are Upset CDC Lifted Mask Mandate)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Thursday that fully vaccinated Americans can forgo masks in most indoor situations and while outdoors. The White House later lifted its mask mandate for all staff, media and guests who are fully vaccinated.
Biden and Psaki criticized Republican governors in March who chose to end their mask mandates, with Biden accusing the states of ignoring science.
Texas and Mississippi were some of the first states to lift their mask mandates and remove capacity restrictions on businesses. Biden said ending the mask mandate was “Neanderthal thinking” while Psaki said it was too early to relax restrictions.
Psaki later defended Biden’s comments as a “reflection of his frustration and exasperation.”