Biden’s use of the term “Neanderthal” was an “expression of his frustration and exasperation,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki when asked about the comment during a press briefing this week.
“I don’t think his view on mask-wearing is a secret. They’re certainly familiar with it. He’s talked about it many, many times. And I’m certain when he speaks with them next, he will convey that directly,” she continued.
But former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany argued there’s no excuse for using divisive rhetoric to describe members of the opposite political party.
“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 on Fox News, where she is a paid contributor.
Biden made the comment on Wednesday when asked about Texas’s and Mississippi’s decisions to lift mask mandates and allow businesses to reopen completely.
“I think it’s a big mistake. Look, I hope everybody’s realized by now, these masks make a difference. We are on the cusp of being able to fundamentally change the nature of this disease because of the way in which we’re able to get vaccines in people’s arms,” Biden said Wednesday.”The last thing, the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime, everything’s fine, take off your mask. Forget it. It still matters,” Biden said.
Both Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves publicly rebuked Biden, arguing their citizens know how to protect themselves from the coronavirus without being told what to do.
“Where we are today is completely different from where we were this time last year when Texans and Americans didn’t know how to deal with this for an entire year,” Abbott said. “Texans have learned the best practice, and that is to wear a mask.”