AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Wednesday, President Joe Biden knocked the actions of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves for their decisions to lift COVID-19 restrictions.
In a meeting in the Oval Office, Biden told reporters: “We are on the cusp of being able to fundamentally change the nature of this disease because of the way in which we’re able to get vaccines in people’s arms.… The last thing, the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking — that, ‘in the meantime, everything’s fine. Take off your mask. Forget it.’ It still matters.”
Abbott made the big announcement on Tuesday afternoon that he was halting the statewide mask mandate effective March 10 — in addition to allowing all Texas businesses to open at 100% capacity if they choose to do so.
While he cited increased vaccinations and sagging case numbers, the announcement sparked ire statewide and nationwide.
The Texas Democratic Party condemned the decision, saying: “He is the worst Governor in modern Texas history. This will kill Texans. Our country’s infectious disease specialists have warned that we should not put our guard down even as we make progress towards vaccinations. Abbott doesn’t care.”
Former presidential candidate and Texan Julián Castro called the choice “reckless,” while Beto O’Rourke, another former presidential candidate from Texas labeled the move “a death warrant for Texans.”
Shortly after the news broke, “RIP Texas” was trending nationally on Twitter.
Biden continued, saying he wishes “the heck some of our elected officials” would follow science.