Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

President Biden disagrees with the maskless mandate

I mean, duh.

President Joe Biden

President Joe Biden said Wednesday that Texas made a “big mistake” by removing its statewide mask mandate and suggested the decision reflected “Neanderthal thinking.”

The comments by the Democratic president came a day after Republican Gov. Greg Abbott announced he was not only ending the mask requirement but also allowing businesses to reopen at full capacity. A small fraction of Texans have been fully vaccinated, and while coronavirus numbers have been generally declining in the state, they remain substantial.

“Texas — I think it’s a big mistake,” Biden said at the White House. “We are on the cusp of being able to fundamentally change the nature of this disease because the way in which are are able to get vaccines in people’s arms. The last thing — the last thing — we need is Neanderthal thinking in the meantime.”

Biden’s administration has urged states not to let up on restrictions as vaccinations pick up. Rochelle Walensky, Biden’s director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reiterated that earlier Wednesday during a White House coronavirus briefing when asked about Abbott’s announcement.

“I think we at the CDC have been very clear that now is not the time to release all restrictions,” Walensky said.

Asked about the Texas news a short time later, White House press secretary Jen Psaki did not directly address Abbott’s actions but said “the entire country has paid the price for political leaders who ignored the science when it comes to the pandemic.”

Abbott’s announcement came four days after he joined Biden for a tour of Houston that was partly about the state’s vaccination efforts. In remarks at the end of the trip, Biden stressed it was “not the time to relax” practices to curb the spread of the virus.

“We have to keep washing our hands, staying socially distanced,” Biden said. “And for God’s sake, wear your mask.”

See here and here for the background. I’m sure we can all surmise what Abbott’s opinion of Biden’s opinion is, but then Abbott only cares about what a few people think. He won’t be unhappy if Biden gets mad at him.

Related Posts:

25 Comments

  1. Robbie Westmoreland says:

    Have you seen the people actually, factually reacting to Biden’s statement by channeling the caveman from the Geico commercials? Protesting discriminatory language against Neanderthals? Did conservatives start hiring SNL writers?

  2. Jason Hochman says:

    Robbie, The Science has shown that there are modern day humans who have Neanderthal DNA. Biden’s insensitive, racist language against multiple groups is well known. He should have asked his boss, Kamala Harris, if the statement was OK before he said it.

    Also, I have previously fact checked the title. There is NO “maskless mandate.” You may wear a mask if you feel it is necessary, and you may avoid a crowd of people not wearing a mask. I never thought that I would see the day when people would beg the government to dominate them. Next they’ll be asking for sodomy laws to come back. I don’t know if the state constitution even allows the governor to declare a state of emergency for months on end.

    If Operation Stay Safe was really serious about keeping us safe, there would be something done about the increase in traffic deaths in 2020, the sky rocketing murder-demic, increases in suicide, overdose, and domestic violence deaths.

  3. Flypusher says:


    Have you seen the people actually, factually reacting to Biden’s statement by channeling the caveman from the Geico commercials? Protesting discriminatory language against Neanderthals? Did conservatives start hiring SNL writers?”

    That’s what you get when stupid no longer has immediate and painful consequences.

    The trouble with Joe is that he’s too polite. It would be more accurate to substitute “Goddamned fool” for “Neanderthal”.

  4. voter_worker says:

    I’m too broken up about the owners of the Dr. Seuss franchise exercising their property rights to even care any more about the mask thing.

  5. C.L. says:

    Jason, if it helps, I’m all for you enacting your own, self-imposed and policed, sodomy law.

  6. Flypusher says:

    Here’s the thing you overlook- all the assholes for whom not being required to wear a mask ought to be enough, but no, they have to go make a scene at businesses that want to require masks for the safety of their employees. The mandate gave those places some backup. Now some poor kid running a register is on her own if a grown man decides to throw a mask tantrum.

    For the past year there were the constant questions of when, when, when? When can we stop wearing masks? When can we stop social distancing? For a long time there was no good concrete answer, and because the frustration was understandable, I didn’t knock people for asking. I wanted normal too. But now we finally do have an answer, a goal, a target. Just a couple months more, to get that critical mass of people vaccinated. But Abbott and the whiners just couldn’t stick it out just a bit longer, even with that knowledge, and we risk backsliding.

  7. Manny says:

    One thing consistent about members of the fascist party is that they lie, Dan Crenshaw with the blame the wind, or Jason with his line of lies. One can’t leave out Bill Daniels from the fascist party liars.

    Fascists can’t govern, but they are good at pushing hate and fear.

  8. Bill Daniels says:

    If anyone feels bad for Biden being upset with Abbott ending the mask mandate, don’t. 15 minutes after Uncle Joe made that statement, he totally forgot about Abbott and the mask mandate. That’s the nice thing about dementia…..you can forget what you’re mad about.

  9. Jason Hochman says:

    Manny, you love to accuse everyone of lying. I have accurately fact checked the title. There is no mask-less mandate. You may wear a mask if you feel that it is necessary.

    I supposed you now understand why everyone is racist, what with those Dr. Seuss books we all had when we were young.

  10. Lobo says:

    COMPELLING LOGIC:

    IT WOULDN’T BE IN THE BANK ROBBER’S INTEREST TO SEIZE AND REQUIRE RETURN OF THE LOOT

    Dear OTK community: Look how well Abbott’s Mask Diversion Tactic is working even in this forum. Clutters up the bandwidth in the comment space to the exclusion of what should treated as a scandal and should inspire outrage: The GOP-run State of Texas using the power grid for a massive wealth transfer.

    Seems like Hochman has a point regarding Abbott’s political “genius”.

    Is anyone here even noticing what the PUC did today? … Letting the profiteers from the PUC-sponsored wholesale price gouging keep overcharges to the tune of $15 billion?

    See Michael Ferman, Texas will not fix ERCOT’s $16 billion power billing mistake: The Public Utility Commission ignored its independent monitor’s recommendation to retroactively reduce the market price for power for at least part of the week of the winter storm. Texas Tribune (Mar. 5, 2021).

    The Independent Market Monitor (IMM) recommended yesterday “that the Commission direct ERCOT to correct the real-time prices from 0:00 February 18,2021, to 09:00 February 19,2021, to remove the inappropriate pricing intervention that occurred during that time period.”

    Why? – Because they (PUC/ERCOT) left the fixed $9,000 p/MVh price in place even though there was no longer a supply shortage requiring a “load shed” to maintain power grid stability, thereby adding $15 billion to the invoices of those required to pay for the surge-price electricity, and further aggrandizing the windfall for the producers/sellers.

    Read the Potomoc Economics Analysis and Recommendation here:
    http://interchange.puc.texas.gov/Documents/51812_61_1114183.PDF

    Critical comment: I am not convinced it was a “mistake” since that implies mere negligence, i.e., lack of intent. Regardless, these post-winterstorm charges should have been reversed and the invoices recalculated using the applicable market rate reflecting supply and demand conditions after the controlled blackouts were over. In dollar terms: Back down from $9,000 cap to $20 or whatever it was bound to revert to, reflecting normal conditions.

    The argument for not correcting the “error” boils down to this: It wouldn’t be good for the beneficiaries of the wholesale price gouging. — Duh!

  11. Jason Hochman says:

    voter_worker, I now read that eBay is removing the offensive Dr. Seuss books from being sold on its site.

    Correct me, I may be wrong here, but didn’t Dr. Seuss do his drawings that discriminated against Asians in response to the FDR anti Japanese acts? Didn’t FDR say that it was OK to put law abiding, US citizens who happened to be of Japanese heritage into camps? I would love to see FDR removed from the dime and replaced with the prior design (the Liberty head), and FDR completely cancelled, and all monuments and statues torn down.

    In fact, US currency never had presidents on it until Lincoln was put on the penny in the early 1900s. The designs on US currency were depictions of Lady Liberty, eagles, and Native Americans. It would be nice to go back to those designs. Although, I wonder if the Native Americans now would be offensive. I wonder if there will come a day when there is a backlash because all mascots and designs depict only white people.

  12. Lobo says:

    Correction regarding the amount of the PUC non-correction: $16 billion, not $15.

    The PUC video from today’s public hearing is now archived. See here:
    http://www.adminmonitor.com/tx/puct/open_meeting/20210305/

  13. Flypusher says:

    “ Dear OTK community: Look how well Abbott’s Mask Diversion Tactic is working even in this forum. Clutters up the bandwidth in the comment space to the exclusion of what should treated as a scandal and should inspire outrage: The GOP-run State of Texas using the power grid for a massive wealth transfer.”

    I haven’t forgotten about the grid, but I can only vote against Abbott once regardless of how many good reasons he gives me.

  14. Ross says:

    The appropriate response to someone who enters a business and refuses to wear a mask is to ask them to leave. If they refuse to leave, tell them they are committing criminal trespass and are now subject to arrest and prosecution. If the store is large enough, hire an off duty police officer to arrest the morons and get them hauled off to the jail. I would love to see some folks tased for this as well – “I don’t have to wear a maaaaaaaaaskkkkkkk arrrrrghhh”

  15. voter_worker says:

    Jason, the entity that owns Dr. Seuss has no obligation to coddle those who wax nostalgic over items they no longer deem representative of their brand or values. I made my jesting comment to cast shade on all the crocodile tears being shed over the matter and linked it to the mask issue to sort of stay on topic AND to hint at my frustration over the Governor’s decision.

  16. Bill Daniels says:

    I agree with both Fly and Ross here. If the store mandates the mask, in addition to shirt and shoes, then the store is calling the shots. If you don’t want to wear a mask and the store asks you to or to leave…..LEAVE. If the employee is insistent that you put on the mask or leave, don’t be a douchebag, either comply or leave.

    The store is private property, and the store owner is the one with skin in the game, paying the taxes, the light bill, maintenance, paying the labor, etc. Of course, I would support the right of a business owner to refuse service to anyone, for any reason. I’d be just fine with a store refusing service to me because I’m a straight, White male, for example. Of course, we have laws against all that, but I guess discriminating against people for masks is still acceptable.

    Wolf is also spot on here. Abbott is using masks the same way Cuomo is using tarts…..create one controversy to bury another one. And here we are, all talking about masks, vs. the 3 days of maxed out electricity prices.

    My only divergence with Wolf is, since there were still blackouts bopping around during that 3 day period, then that tells me that we still needed to pay a premium for electricity, since supply didn’t immediately resume to needed levels after day one.

    I suspect that, in the end, after all the smoke and lawsuits clear, the power generators will be accepting partial payment on their $ 9,000/ mWH prices and that will end the issue, other than the ratepayers will be dinged with higher prices going forward, which we already would have been paying if all the plants and pipelines had spent the big dollars on winterizing their facilities prior to the event.

  17. Bill Daniels says:

    Voter:

    “….and linked it to the mask issue to sort of stay on topic….”

    Stay on topic? What manner of sorcery is that? 🙂

  18. Manny says:

    There you go again, Jason, telling more lies. I have accused you and Bill primarily of lying. You and he tell lies about almost everything. That is part of the fascist/racist party’s attempt to destroy this country.

  19. Lobo says:

    CLARIFICATION REGARDING THE PUC-SPOSORED ALL-MARKET HEIST

    Bill: The generators/wholesale sellers get paid within days. Here is the March 1, 2021 settlement data, which also shows the amount short-paid, and some reallocation. See the explanatory remarks. The dollar figures are staggering.

    http://www.ercot.com/services/comm/mkt_notices/archives/5260

    Not that ERCOT was given “discretion” by PUC in a separate order to not follow its normal protocols for billing and settlement, so who knows what’s going on. For example, it looks like they are now engaged in “netting” for those market participants that have both amount due to them and obligations to pay, which were previously handled as separate transactions and not contemporaneously. Apparently, that’s because it created liquidity problems for some if they had to pay their own bill to ERCOT first before being paid by ERCOT for power they provided.
    They also tapped an auction fund balance to offset the huge amount that is short for the settlement period due to defaults, nonpayment, and – Brazos Electric’s bankruptcy filing.

    REALLOCATION OF AMOUNTS SHORT

    As I understand it, the general rule and practice was that shortfalls (from the payors who default or short-pay, like Griddy et al) are reallocated “pro rata” to those that are making their payments as invoiced (and in full), which is called “uplift”. I previously referred to that as “socializing” the shortfall/loss. One City filed a lawsuit over this reallocation formula and I am not clear on whether ERCOT is now allocation the shortfall to the generators/sellers too, or just the retail providers. Perhaps someone here can draw more definitive conclusions from the March 1 settlement information than me as a lay person.

    Additionally, the PUC voted to institute a clawback of payments to generator/sellers for ancillary services / generation of power during the crisis that they didn’t actually generate. Why did they get paid for that anyhow? – Go figure.

    TIME PERIOD AFFECTED BY SYSTEM-LEVEL PRICE GOUGING ORCHESTRATED BY PUC/ERCOT

    Also, the overcharging was past the 3 consecutive days and amounted to almost 2 extra days beyond the period during which mandated “controlled” outages were in effect due the scarcity conditions. The electricity production shortfall and resultant EEA3 emergency declared by ERCOT was the rationale for jacking up the wholesale price to $9,000 p/MWh to reflect the scarcity conditions (and supposedly incentivize additional production). So, by the PUC’s own logic (articulated in their Feb 15 and 16 scarcity pricing orders), the scarcity price of $9,000 should *not* have remained in effect once the scarcity condition no longer obtained. It marked a manmade bonanza on top of a disaster-driven (some would say disaster-triggered) one.

  20. Jason Hochman says:

    Now Manny, what have I lied about now? Have you ever seen an old US coin? was there a president on a coin from the 1800s?

    I have absolutely fact checked that there is NO mask-less mandate. It is perfectly allowable to wear a mask if you want to wear one, or feel that it is necessary in the particular circumstance.

    Calling everything disinformation or outright calling it a lie is how the Democrats have conspired to destroy the US and take away personal freedom, which is apparently, according to them, a Neanderthal concept. Glad to see you’ve advanced beyond personal freedom and choice to an elevated state.

    I belong to the largest political party in the US. Independent is now 50% of the people, which boasts twice as many members as either the Rs or Ds, with about 25% each. A majority of the people, mainly members of the I’s but also a sizeable number of R’s believe that a third party is a great idea.

    Some day, you will be cancelled by my party, the I’s, as we will censor everything.

  21. Manny says:

    Jason, you and your fascist buddy, Bill, engage in the same stupid games. Your fascist game is change the narrative all the time.

    You lie all the time Jason, I will point out one lie from a post on this article.

    Biden’s insensitive, racist language against multiple groups is well known. He should have asked his boss, Kamala Harris, if the statement was OK before he said it.

    Jason, that is typical white supremacy bs, about Vice-President Harris.

  22. Jason Hochman says:

    Ross, the my body my choice only applies to some instances. Of course if the stores want people to wear a mask they can make that rule, but the police need to do something about the murder epidemic in Houston, and not enforce silly masks, when people are really dying out there from murder, not some project that some could possible one in a million get sick and die from someone not wearing a mask. Also the carnage in traffic deaths, again, real deaths not some projection. We should support Gov. Abbott for his support of My Body, My Choice. We should be happy that we don’t have to be treated like diseased lepers by our masters in government.

  23. Lobo says:

    Hochman: I would say you are correct in part (as to individuals having choice either way, except when on premises of businesses), but the Governor’s order nevertheless ties the hands of local governments (counties, municipalities); so in that sense the Governor’s order is proscriptive as to them, i.e., and is no-mask in substance.

    Here is the relevant portion of GA-34:

    “no jurisdiction may impose a penalty of any kind for failure to wear a face covering or failure to mandate that customers or employees wear face covering, except that a legally authorized official may act to enforce trespassing laws and remove violators at the request of a business establishment or other property owner.”

    Full Order here:
    https://open.texas.gov/uploads/files/organization/opentexas/EO-GA-34-opening-Texas-response-to-COVID-disaster-IMAGE-03-02-2021.pdf
    (alas it’s a scan and in legal-size format; not user/reader-friendly if you want to print it)

    So the biz/property owner may make and enforce mask-rules but not the duly elected representatives of the local populace (except for their own premises), assuming the Governor has lawful preemption powers under the Texas Disaster Act).

    The local officials (county judges) can try to clean up the mess if things go wrong under mask-less conditions, but may not do so at the time when the adverse effects could still be avoided through nonmedical prophylaxis.

    Would you agree with this characterization of the gist of the COVID-mask regime established by the Governor’s order?

    And would you call it “genius” for the Governor to tie the locals’ hands and punting off the problem of a COVID infection surge to them only when it can no longer be averted through wise proactive regulation?

  24. Ross says:

    Jason, in the scenario I posted above, the police would not be enforcing a mask law, they would be enforcing a private entity’s right to control their property. If a private entity asks you to leave because you aren’t wearing a mask, and you refuse, you are committing criminal trespass, and are subject to arrest and prosecution.

    There’s not a lot police can do about murders, other than arrest the evildoer after they are found. That’s the way it’s always been.

  25. Marc says:

    The insanity continues…

    Why must we contend with unbalanced, obtuse, morons who remove mask orders in a motherf’n pandemic? We cannot afford morons in our midst because what they do effects those I want to protect, including myself. What a demented lunatic the Gov of Texas is…taking his cues from idiots in private meetings. If you protect me, I’ll protect you. What happened to being a human being? The longer this continues, we will NEVER return to normal. Pres Biden should get serious and set down hard core laws. I can’t take this flagrant stupidity one more second.