A townhall with GOP governors on Thursday night revealed the stark divide in the nation over face masks, with Republican governors from across the country saying that they had either withdrawn or declined to implement mask mandates because they trusted their constituents. This is in sharp contrast to the Biden administration's persistent cries to "mask up."
Speaking to Fox News' Laura Ingraham, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said that "We in red states trust Americans, the Biden administration simply wants to insult Americans and assume that they can't make their own decisions."
"One of the big problems with what this administration is doing," Nebraska's Governor Pete Ricketts told Fox News' Laura Ingraham, "is they don't have a clear communication message about anything—y'know, masks, immigration, you name it, they don't know what they're doing. That's why you have to rely on governors in the states... to set the policy." Nebraskans, he said, did the right thing because that's what Nebraskans do.
"We didn't really listen to the CDC because they were giving so much conflicting information," Ricketts said.
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra reacted on Thursday to the news that New York City would be reopening fully by July 1. Becerra cautioned people to vaccinate and to still wear a mask.
Becerra said "Y'know, our job is to give guidance, and I think our professionals at CDC, FDA, and so forth, have given great guidance... we are saying the most important thing is to stay safe. We want people to be vaccinated, we want people to continue to wear masks, we want you to be safe, because we don't want to have to regress from coming back to normal, so just gotta be safe."
"I'm fully vaccinated, I still wear a mask. I ask my family to continue to wear masks," Becerra said. And he touted the CDC guidance, saying "We're not going to judge for others, either, but we're certainly going to give good guidance."
The president told the NBC's Today of masking that "it's a small precaution to take that has a profound impact. It's a patriotic responsibility, for God sake."
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis refused to implement a mask mandate, and he has also refused to have vaccine passports. Of that policy, he said it's "not just saying government can't make you, but private businesses can't make you, either, because here's the thing: You have a right to participate in society without them asking you to divulge this type of health information..."
There is a marked disconnect between the administration's "abundance of caution" with regard to health concerns for Americans, and the GOP governors' position that Americans can make their own, informed choices.