MS Governor Struggles To Defend Lack Of Statewide Mask Mandate: ‘It’s Complicated’

Mississippi Republican Gov. Tate Reeves delivers a televised address prior to signing a bill retiring the last state flag with the Confederate battle emblem during a ceremony at the Governor's Mansion in Jackson, Mis... Mississippi Republican Gov. Tate Reeves delivers a televised address prior to signing a bill retiring the last state flag with the Confederate battle emblem during a ceremony at the Governor's Mansion in Jackson, Mississippi, on June 30, 2020. Upon signing the bill, the flag looses its official status. - Lawmakers in Mississippi voted June 28 to remove the Confederate battle standard from the state flag, after nationwide protests drew renewed attention to symbols of the United States' racist past. The measure passed with a 91-23 majority vote in the House of Representatives, triggering cheers in the Senate gallery. A few hours later, the Senate voted 37-14 for the bill. (Photo by Rogelio V. Solis / POOL / AFP) (Photo by ROGELIO V. SOLIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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July 19, 2020 2:55 p.m.
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Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) defended his refusal to issue a statewide mask mandate during an interview on CNN Sunday.

Earlier this month, Reeves signed an order requiring face masks in 13 counties, but has not issued a statewide mask mandate even as governors in red states such as Texas, Alabama, Louisiana and Arkansas have done so.

After arguing that his daily press conferences urging residents to wear masks has spurred increased mask wearing compliance, Reeves was pressed on why he has not imposed a statewide mandatory mask order if it saves lives.

“Well look and that’s the point, Jake, in fact there’s a statewide mask mandate in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Alabama, they’re all around me. If I believe that was the best way to save lives in my state I would’ve done it a long time ago,” Reeves said.

Reeves added that he believes that wearing masks and practicing social distancing is “a strategy that is worth implementing” before blaming health experts, such as the World Health Organization, for issuing “mixed messages” on masks.

After CNN’s Jake Tapper pointed out that the discrepancy among health experts on masks was from a “long time ago,” Reeves explained why he finds the issue of ordering a statewide mask mandate involves a “complicated process.”

“Of course it was a while ago, but people were paying attention then,” Reeves said. “There are lot of people in my state who said, ‘well these central planners, these people who want to tell us what to do, they said six months ago that this is what we should do and now they’ve completely changed their mind.’ And so it’s a complicated process.”

Watch Reeves’ remarks below:

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