White House press secretary Jen Psaki defended President Joe Biden‘s use of the phrase ‘neanderthal thinking,’ which he uttered Wednesday slamming the Texas and Mississippi governors’ decisions to reopen their states.
Asked about it during Thursday’s press briefing, Psaki said Biden was describing ‘the behavior of a neanderthal. Just to be very clear. The behavior of.’
‘Look, I think the president, what everybody saw yesterday, was a reflection of his frustration and exasperation, which I think many American people have, that for almost a year now people across the country have sacrificed.’
Biden and members of his administration have implored Americans to wear masks and stay socially distant as the country’s population get vaccinated against COVID-19.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki defended President Joe Biden’s use of the phrase ‘neanderthal thinking’ in response to the Texas and Mississippi governors reopening their states explaining that it was a ‘reflection of his frustration and exasperation’
President Joe Biden reacted Wednesday to Texas and Mississippi reopening and killing off mask mandates by calling it a ‘big mistake.’ Biden added, ‘the last thing we need is neanderthal thinking’
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey broke with Republican governors in Texas and Mississippi and announced Thursday that she’ll extend a mask mandate until April 9
Texas Gov Greg Abbott (left) and Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves (right) both announced on that their states would end mask mandates and reopen businesses without capacity limitations
‘And many times they haven’t had the information they need from the federal government,’ she continued. ‘They haven’t had access to a greater understanding of what the public health guidelines should look like. And those include many, many people in Mississippi and Texas, in Ohio, Florida, in every state across the country.’
Biden said ‘the last thing we need is neanderthal thinking’ on the heels of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announcing that their state would no longer mandate mask-wearing and businesses could reopen to full capacity.
On Thursday, another southern Republican governor, Alabam’s Kay Ivey, extended her state’s mask mandate for another month and five days.
Psaki told DailyMail.com that she was unaware Ivey’s decision came from direct White House pressure.
‘I’m not aware of a direct conversation between them today,’ she said during Thursday’s briefing.
She also couldn’t answer if Biden had made calls to additional Republican governors who may be flirting with reopening their states.
Biden’s ‘neanderthal’ dig was met with furor.
‘President Biden said allowing Mississippians to decide how to protect themselves is “neanderthal thinking,”‘ Reeves tweeted Wednesdy. ‘Mississippians don’t need handlers. As numbers drop, they can assess their choices and listen to experts. I guess I just think we should trust Americans, not insult them.’
Later on Fox News Channel, Reeves said that Biden needed to ‘get outside of Washington, D.C., and actually travel to middle America.’
Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw tweeted, ‘Freedom of choice for Americans: “Neanderthal thinking.” Opening borders to illegal immigrants with COVID: “compassion.”‘
The White House also knocked down an allegation that COVID-positive migrants were coming into Texas, as Abbott charged.
‘We’re about facts around here. That is not factual,’ Psaki said, explaining the current testing practices.
GOP Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee embraced the term ‘neanderthal’ when she appeared on Fox Business Network Thursday.
‘Neanderthals are hunter-gatherers, they’re protectors of their family, they’re resilient, they’re resourceful, they tend to their own,’ she noted. ‘So I think Joe Biden needs to rethink what he is saying about the states that are moving away from these mask mandates.’
Despite Biden’s pushback against the governors’ decisions in Texas and Mississippi, the White House seemed hesitant to push for state-specific travel restrictions.
Psaki also wouldn’t sign-on to telling American to avoid the two states.
‘I’m not aware of any discussions and I certainly wouldn’t do that from here,’ she answered.