Biden had just finished making comments about developments in cancer research when he was asked about the end of mask mandates in Texas and Mississippi.
“Texas — I think it’s a big mistake. Look, I hope everybody’s realized by now these masks make a difference,” Biden said. “We are on the cusp of being able to fundamentally change the nature of this disease because of the way in which we are able to get vaccines in people’s arms.”
The president added, “The last thing, the last thing we need is neanderthal thinking in the meantime.”
Earlier in the day, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the American people should continue to heed the instructions of Dr. Anthony Fauci and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“This entire country has paid the price for political leaders who ignored the science when it comes to the pandemic. People are starting to feel a little bit better in some cases,” Psaki opined. “You go to the grocery store and there’s Clorox wipes available. A year into this, that feels better, but there’s still more that needs to be done. We need to remain vigilant.”
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) reportedly responded to Biden’s comments by pointing out that Abbott is not preventing anyone from wearing a mask.
“I don’t think [Biden’s] got a lot to say about preaching to my state about how we’ve handled this COVID-19 virus[.] And the fact of the matter is if you want to wear a mask you can still wear a mask,” Cornyn said.
The White House joins a chorus of Texas Democrats who are distraught over Abbott’s announcement. Some called the decision a “death warrant,” while others alleged that the governor is responsible for killing people.