Republicans are hitting back after President Joe Biden accused two red state governors of “Neanderthal thinking” for lifting COVID-19 restrictions such as mask mandates to reopen their economies as vaccinations rise and hospitalizations fall.
Former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany likened Biden’s insult to Hillary Clinton’s famous “deplorables” jab against Trump supporters.
What are the details?
On Wednesday, Biden reacted to the news that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) were reopening their states by saying he thinks “it’s a big mistake” on their part, and that “the last thing we need is the “Neanderthal thinking that…everything’s fine” as coronavirus deaths continue.
Reeves was quick to respond, saying that “Mississippians don’t need handlers,” adding, “I guess I just think we should trust Americans, not insult them.”
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) told Fox News in reaction to Biden’s remark, “”What I would call ‘Neanderthal thinking’ would be Governor [Gavin] Newsom (D) in California telling his people not to come out of their cave for a year.”
Patrick continued, “I would call ‘Neanderthal thinking’ the Democrat Governor [Andrew] Cuomo of New York sending patients with COVID to nursing homes where he covered up 12,000 people dying.”
McEnany, now an analyst at Fox, said on “Fox & Friends,” “Simply giving freedoms causes Joe Biden, the great uniter, to call us Neanderthals, among other words, that his predecessor Hillary Clinton did, as well.”
The Washington Examiner noted that “McEnany was referring to a comment Clinton made while running for president in 2015 where she referred to Trump supporters as ‘deplorables.'”
How did the White House respond?
During a press briefing Thursday, a reporter asked White House press secretary Jen Psaki, “Does the president have any second thoughts about the language that he used yesterday, and how does comparing someone to a Neanderthal help convince them to change course and get on board with your public health message?”
Psaki corrected the reporter and emphasized that Biden was comparing “the behavior of a Neanderthal — just to be very clear. The behavior of.”
“What everybody saw yesterday was a reflection of his frustration and exasperation which I think many American people have,” the White House press secretary continued. “For almost a year now, people across the country have sacrificed, many times they haven’t had the information they need from the federal government, they haven’t had access to greater understanding of what the public health guidelines should look like.”
She added, “And those include many people in Mississippi, in Texas, in Ohio, Florida, in every state across the country.”
Each of the states she mentioned have Republican governors.
Joe Biden ‘neanderthal’ comment a reflection of frustration, says White House