Republican Idaho Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin took it upon herself to ban mask mandates Thursday while Gov. Brad Little was reportedly unaware and out of state.
“The lieutenant governor did not make Gov. Little aware of her executive order ahead of time,” Little’s press secretary Marissa Morrison Hyer told CNN.
Little is out of state “collaborating with Republican governors at the (Republican Governors Association) convention in Nashville,” Hyer reportedly said.
Hyer told CNN “the Governor’s Office is reviewing the Lt. Governor’s executive order. Governor Little has never put in place a statewide mask mandate.”
McGeachin signed an executive order Thursday banning the state and local government, including public schools, from implementing a mask mandate.
“I signed an Executive Order to protect the rights and liberties of individuals and businesses,” McGeachin tweeted.
Today, as acting Governor of the State of Idaho, I signed an Executive Order to protect the rights and liberties of individuals and businesses by prohibiting the state and its political subdivisions — including public schools — from imposing mask mandates in our state. #idpol pic.twitter.com/Nmb6DX9v6X
— Janice McGeachin (@JaniceMcGeachin) May 27, 2021
Little and McGeachin have clashed over the past year regarding Little’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. (RELATED: Idaho Becomes First State To Ban Public Schools From Compelling Students To Adopt Critical Race Theory Discrimination)
Little issued a stay-at-home order in March of 2020 that became invalid on April 30. Little then allowed the state to reopen in a four-stage process. McGeachin, however, wrote an op-ed in May noting she lost “sleep at night because the heavy hand of our government is hurting so many Idahoans.”
McGeachin’s public clash with Little appears to be political, at least according to an op-ed in The Lewiston Tribune by Marty Trillhaase.
“Whatever damage McGeachin has done to Little or to her state, she has benefited politically,” Trillhaase wrote. “McGeachin put herself first in line to challenge Little from the right in the 2022 GOP primary. Anyone else who wants that shot will have to get past her.”