Republican governors continue to deny the reality and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed more than 650 thousand Americans and upended daily life in the United States for more than a year.
In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis has banned businesses from verifying vaccinations for their customers and worked to ban mask mandates in schools. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has also worked to ban mask mandates and resisted any statewide action against the pandemic.
But the lesser-known governor of Mississippi, Tate Reeves, received backlash on CNN this past weekend as he attempted to defend his own pandemic response to host Jake Tapper.
"If Mississippi were its own country, you would be second in the world only to Peru in terms of deaths per capita..… https://t.co/kQy7OvpOcz— CNN Politics (@CNN Politics) 1632059544.0
Currently, Mississippi has the highest rate of COVID-19 deaths in the nation, with Tapper pointing out that the Hospitality State would be second only to Peru in death rates if it were its own country.
"With all due respect, governor, your way is failing. Are you going to try to change this horrible statistic from what you're doing already?"
"Yes, well, obviously, the -- in Mississippi, our legislature is a part-time legislature. Sometimes, I wonder if in America if our Congress was part-time, we wouldn't be in a better position."
"Better position than what?" Tapper responded, "Your state is second worst in the world, I mean, how could you say that?"
The governor continued to blame the Biden administration for its supposed suppression of monoclonal treatments and claim that deaths were a "lagging indicator," but at no point did he say what he was going to do to turn the devastating trend around. Instead, he promoted "personal responsibility" of Mississippians to talk to their doctor about getting vaccinated.
Tapper called him out.
"So, you're not going to change anything?...You're not going to change anything?"
Social media users joined him in decrying Reeves' approach.
This is a must watch moment. This guy is dancing around the fact that Covid is spreading like wildfire in MS & he… https://t.co/BqAt5Dvld7— Jaime Harrison, DNC Chair (@Jaime Harrison, DNC Chair) 1632074150.0
If Mississippi were a country it’d be 2nd in the world for per capita COVID deaths😳 Gov @tatereeves offers 0 solut… https://t.co/s2Dwqyl642— Qasim Rashid, Esq. (@Qasim Rashid, Esq.) 1632075149.0
Only one country in the world has a higher #COVID19 death rate than the state of Mississippi. Last month Gov. Tate… https://t.co/QsATszjO5Y— Richard Hine (@Richard Hine) 1632081496.0
Yes @tatereeves, deaths are a lagging indicator, but that has nothing to do the total per-capita deaths since the p… https://t.co/JY5EWkKWQo— Michael Creel (@Michael Creel) 1632064699.0
More than 1 in 500 Americans are dead from COVID-19 and Tate Reeves, Ron DeSantis, Greg Abbott and other GOP Govern… https://t.co/EyUEv6Zx1L— Richard Hine (@Richard Hine) 1632070091.0
Tate Reeves has zero shame. I do not understand digging your heels in like this. I’ll never understand it. https://t.co/TntzG4jMqd— Bishop Sycamore Alum, Morgan L. Stringer (@Bishop Sycamore Alum, Morgan L. Stringer) 1632072290.0
They commended the anchor for holding Reeves' feet to the fire.
Jake Tapper is the best TV news journalist. https://t.co/AxPGZXHRzF— On Consideration (@On Consideration) 1632094362.0
Mississippi remains one of the least-vaccinated states in the country.