Conservatives reacted angrily to comments made by President Joe Biden about state leaders who began lifting coronavirus restrictions this week in response to falling case numbers and hospitalizations.
Biden called the move to lift mask mandates and other restrictions by governors in Texas and Mississippi “a big mistake” and added, “The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking.”
Fox News analyst and former Trump Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany blasted Biden for his language and compared his statement with the time in 2016 that Hillary Clinton called Trump supporters “deplorables.”
“Simply giving freedoms”
“Simply giving freedoms causes Joe Biden – the great uniter – to call us Neanderthals among other words that his predecessor Hillary Clinton did as well,” McEnany said.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott said that the comment was “not the type of word that a president should be using” and blamed Biden’s immigration reversals for the continued Covid spread in his state.
Abbott turned the comment back on Biden, saying to CNBC, “The Biden administration has been releasing immigrants in South Texas that have been exposing Texans to Covid. Some of those people have been put on buses, taking that Covid to other states in the United States. That is Neanderthal-type approach to dealing with the Covid situation.”
“President Biden said allowing Mississippians to decide how to protect themselves is ‘neanderthal thinking,'” Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves tweeted on Wednesday. “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.”
Members of Congress decry Biden comments
Some members of Congress also took issue with Biden’s words.
“Freedom of choice for Americans: ‘Neanderthal thinking’ Opening borders to illegal immigrants with COVID: ‘compassion,'” Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) tweeted.
Missouri Senator Josh Hawley (R) told Fox News on Thursday, “What a uniter Joe Biden is. You know this is Mr. Unity. And yet if you disagree with him, you’re a Neanderthal.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki defended Biden’s comments on Thursday and tried to turn it back on the previous administration.
“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 a almost a year now people across the country have sacrificed, at many times they haven’t had information they need from the federal government,” Psaki told reporters at a briefing.
But it’s clear that this is the kind of comment by a president that is probably going to stick around in people’s minds for a long time. Bring on the Neanderthal tee-shirts!