“I think it’s a big mistake,” Biden told reporters at the White House.
Biden expressed his feelings on masks during an Oval Office meeting with Congressional Democrats on efforts to cure cancer.
“The last thing, the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime, everything’s fine, take off your mask, forget it,” Biden said.
He again demanded that Americans and political officials “follow the science” on masks.
“It’s critical, critical, critical that they follow the science,” Biden said, repeating that Americans should wash their hands, wear a mask and stay socially distanced. ”
“I know you all know that,” he continued. “I wish to heck some of our elected officials knew it.”
Earlier Wednesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki also criticized American governors for lifting mask mandates during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The entire country has paid the price for political leaders who ignored the science when it comes to the pandemic,” she said.
Psaki commented during the White House press briefing on Wednesday afternoon in response to several questions about the Biden administration’s response to Texas and Mississippi lifting their statewide mask mandates on Tuesday.
She said Biden would likely speak with the Texas governor about his decision “at the next opportunity he has.”
Psaki repeated that Biden believed that mask-wearing could save 50,000 lives, urging Americans everywhere to continue to wear masks, despite state officials lifting their mandates.
“He’s hopeful that people in these states will continue to follow the guidelines that have been set out and the recommendations made by health and medical experts,” she said.
Earlier Wednesday, federal health officials shared a similar message, urging Americans in states to “do the right thing” by continuing to wear masks.
“Every individual is empowered to do the right thing here regardless of what the states decide,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a briefing with reporters Wednesday morning.