White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday defended President Joe Biden calling the logic behind Texas and Mississippi lifting their mask mandates as “neanderthal thinking,” which upset many Republican officials from those states.
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Speaking to reporters in the Oval Office on Wednesday while wearing a mask, Biden called the lifting of mask mandates a “big mistake” and described the moves as “neanderthal thinking”.
“The last thing we need is neanderthal thinking that in the meantime everything is fine,” the president said.
At Thursday’s White House press briefing, a reporter asked Psaki, “How does comparing someone with a neanderthal help convince them to change course and get on board with your public health message?”
“The behavior of a neanderthal, just to be very clear,” she replied. “The behavior of.”
Psaki continued, saying that Biden’s Wednesday comment “was a reflection of his frustration and exasperation, which many American people have,” adding that “for almost a year now, people across the country have sacrificed, and many times they haven’t had the information they need from the federal government. 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, Texas, Ohio, Florida, and “every state across the country,” the press secretary added.
Furthermore, she said the president “believes that—with more than half a million Americans’ lives lost, with families that continue to suffer—that it’s imperative that people listen, across the country, whether they live in a red state or blue state, to the guidance of public health experts.”
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) went after Biden for his “neanderthal thinking” comment, tweeting Wednesday, “President Biden said allowing Mississippians to decide how to protect themselves is ‘neanderthal thinking.’ 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.”
Reeves later spoke to Fox News host Neil Cavuto that evening, adding, “When President Biden said that we were all Neanderthals, it struck me as someone who needs to get outside of Washington, D.C., and actually travel to Middle America.”
He also tweeted Thursday that the political left “want to jail or fine you for not wearing a mask. When they can’t, they react this way. This isn’t sane,” adding, “BTW you can still wear masks in TX, most businesses require it. It’s just a choice now, as it should be.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden’s top health adviser and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, criticized the moves to lift the mask mandates.
“It’s just inexplicable why you would want to pull back now,” Fauci told CNN on Wednesday. “I understand the need to want to get back to normality, but you’re only going to set yourself back if you just completely push aside the public health guidelines.”
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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Boston Celtics Player Legally Changing Name to ‘Enes Kanter Freedom’ to Celebrate U.S. Citizenship
Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter is celebrating becoming a U.S. citizen in an incredible way. The 29-year-old athlete from Turkey is having his citizenship oath ceremony Monday, and will legally change his name to Enes Kanter Freedom.
Kanter is an outspoken human rights advocate who had his Turkish passport revoked in 2017 after he criticized Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Mediaite reports “he has also criticized NBA stars Michael Jordan and LeBron James for not doing enough to help the Black community and not speaking out against exploitative labor practices in China respectively.”
Celtics head coach Ime Udoka told the Boston Globe the team is “all for” the player’s name change. Kanter’s manager says the player will complete his legal name change to have Kanter become his middle name and Freedom be his new last name at Monday’s ceremony.
“We congratulated him as a group for getting his American citizenship last week,” Udoka said. “That’s who Enes is, we’re proud of him. Enes is who he is. He’s passionate about his stances and the name change; you look at [Ron] Artest [who changed his name to Metta Sandiford-Artest in the middle of the COVID-19 outbreak] and guys that have done it in the past. It’s something he wants to express and we’re all for it.”
Kanter has already changed his official Twitter account to Enes Kanter FREEDOM with his new last name in all caps. Freedom made waves when he tweeted the following on November 18: Money over Morals for the ‘King’. Sad & disgusting how these athletes pretend they care about social justice. They really do ‘shut up & dribble’ when Big Boss [inserted Chinese flag] says so. Did you educate yourself about the slave labor that made your shoes or is that not part of your research?”
The tweet included photos of basketball shoes he wore painted with human rights depictions and phrases such as “hey still researching and getting educated?” as well as “I am informed and educated on the situation.”
The statement is with regard to his criticism of LeBron James’ partnership with Nike. “Nike remains one of the NBA’s biggest sponsors as both organizations feed off their partnerships with China” reports Mediaite. Kanter Freedom also made an offer to take Michael Jordan and Nike co-founder Phil Knight to China in order for the men to “visit these slave labor camps and you can see it with your own eyes.”
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