Watching Republican governors repeatedly put everyone’s life at risk in order to curry favor with a fringe minority of GOP voters continues to be both stunning and horrific. 

Over the weekend, Mississippi governor Tate Reeves went on CNN’s State of the Union to assure the nation he wouldn’t lift a single finger to save lives in his state—regardless of the fact that pandemic-related deaths have been soaring there.

During his CNN appearance, host Jake Tapper noted that if Mississippi were a country, it would be second in the world only to Peru in terms of deaths per capita. Tapper then asked Reeves directly, “Are you going to do anything to try to change that?”

Instead of citing even a single public health initiative in his state, Reeves took comfort in the fact that death is “a lagging indicator.”

Then he accused Tapper of gotcha journalism—as if asking questions about the efficacy and lethality of a governor’s policies should be off the table. First, Reeves said, “You wanted to talk about our number of cases, and then you want to talk about our hospitalizations. Now you want to talk about a lagging indicator which is sad and it’s horrible…”

Tapper interjected, “I’m trying to talk about dead Mississippians is what I’m trying to talk about.”

Then Reeves moved on to downplaying the overall number of Mississippi’s pandemic-related deaths by explaining that it accounts for a very small percentage of the overall number of deaths nationwide—just “1.29% of the total number of fatalities in America.”

There’s nothing more reassuring than being told your loved one’s death is just a statistic—and an insignificant one at that!

Finally, Reeves suggested Tapper start talking about case counts in Kentucky or West Virginia or North Carolina. 

“I’m asking you about your state,” Tapper offered.

Just wow—don’t quit your day job, Tate comes to mind except that… yes, absolutely quit your day job because you’re a menace to society. But to revisit Tapper’s original question: No, Reeves clearly won’t be doing anything to save lives in Mississippi.

Among the GOP governors promising to jeopardize people in the name of personal freedom, Reeves’ messaging incompetence really stands out—a proud moment to be sure. 

But when it comes to total inaction on stopping spread of the pandemic, Reeves is really just GOP run of the mill.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp offered up a beauty several weeks ago. After Kemp discouraged in-school mask mandates and signed an order allowing businesses to skirt local COVID-19 restrictions, he said he was fresh out of ideas for how to stop the pandemic as it pushed the state’s hospitals to the brink of collapse.

After a reporter asked the governor if he was doing enough to combat COVID-19, Kemp shot back, “If you have any good ideas on how we can further slow the spread, I’d be open to it.”

Hmm. Dare we suggest mask and vaccine mandates—the two most effective means of stopping the pandemic in its tracks? Or maybe at least allowing local governments to implement mandates if you don’t have the political guts or moral fortitude to do so.

In Florida, where the delta variant really took off under the leadership of Gov. Ron DeSantis, the governor is vowing to protect residents against the scourge of government action.

“These big government mandates strip away people’s rights to make the best decision for themselves,” DeSantis said last week in Gainesville, assailing President Joe Biden’s recent vaccine push. “But we are going to protect Floridians from federal and local government overreach.”

The method DeSantis has been using to shield people from government overreach is, well, executive overreach at the state level. Instead of leaving masking and vaccination decisions up to locales around the state, DeSantis has done everything in his power to quash local and federal mandates and mitigation efforts.

But DeSantis has also opened a new front in his battle to make sure the delta surge runs its course unabated in the Sunshine State—spreading vaccine misinformation.  

At the Gainesville press conference, DeSantis stood right next to a municipal employee who spouted a baseless conspiracy theory that the vaccine “changes your RNA, so for me, that’s a problem.”

DeSantis never corrected the man, Darris Friend, who was the lead plaintiff in a legal challenge to Gainesville’s vaccine mandates for city employees. The next day, DeSantis was questioned about why he let the falsehood stand, and he claimed he didn’t recall the comment.

“Honestly, I don’t even remember him saying that, so it’s not anything I’ve said,” DeSantis told Politico’s Marc Caputo.

Now that’s leadership—covering up a deadly lie with another lie all in the name of personal freedom.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.

1 COMMENT

  1. The Republican governors should be brought up on criminal charges, every single solitary one of them, for causing so much harm and deaths. They are disgusting examples of the dregs of society along with the people who voted them into office.

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