Psaki: Biden's 'Neanderthal’ Comment Was a ‘Reflection of His Frustration and Exasperation’


White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki says President Joe Biden was venting his frustration around people not following public health guidelines when he warned against using “Neanderthal thinking” to lift coronavirus restrictions.

During a press briefing on Thursday, Psaki was asked about Biden’s comments. The reporter claimed that the president compared the governors of Texas and Mississippi to Neanderthals. 

Psaki responded by saying Biden was not comparing the governors to Neanderthals. Rather she said he was comparing their actions to “the behavior of a Neanderthal.”

“Just to be very clear, the behavior of,” she reiterated.

She continued, “Look, 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 almost a year now, people across the country have sacrificed, and many times they haven’t had 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.”

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“And those include many, many people in Mississippi, in Texas, in Ohio, Florida, in every state across the country.”

She went on to say Biden believes it is “imperative” that people listen to the advice of public health experts. Still, she said he would “engage” with people who disagree with him.

“He believes that if we’re going to get this pandemic under control, we need to follow public health guidelines. He simply asked the American people to abide by wearing a mask for 100 days. We’re at about day 40… 60 more days,” she added.

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On Tuesday, the governors of Texas and Mississippi announced that they would lift the mask-wearing mandates and let businesses reopen at 100% capacity as they cited a decrease in the number of new daily cases of the virus. 

When asked about the move at the White House on Wednesday, Biden said, “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 fundamentally changing the nature of this disease because of the way in which we’re able to get vaccines in peoples’ arms.”

“And 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,” he added.

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) fired back on Twitter, “President Biden said allowing Mississippians to decide how to protect themselves is ‘neanderthal thinking.’

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“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,” he added. 

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) also took a shot at Biden as he said, “What a uniter Joe Biden is. You know, this is Mr. Unity, and yet, if you disagree with him, you’re a Neanderthal. This guy has also called people who disagree with him Nazis. I mean it’s unbelievable.”

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