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Roundup: GOP Governors Get Called Out For Ignoring White House Recommendations to Slow COVID-19 Spread

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GOP governors ignored recommendations from the White House Coronavirus Task Force to curb the spread of COVID-19 – even as cases continue to rise across the country. The White House warned states in the “red zone” should implement mask mandates, but GOP governors including Georgia’s Brian Kemp, Iowa’s Kim Reynolds, Oklahoma’s Kevin Stitt, and Missouri’s Mike Parson all refused.

Mike Parson has gone to great lengths to ignore public health officials’ recommendations to mandate masks in Missouri – even publicly disregarding White House advisors. Dr. Deborah Birx, while wearing a mask, held a joint press conference with Parson where she said “Every public health official anywhere in the country will tell you it is easier to have a statewide mask mandate.” Parson won’t wear a mask himself, even at crowded campaign events with older guests, potentially endangering the health of those around him.

Not only did Brian Kemp not issue a mask mandate, he actively fought against it, suing the City of Atlanta for attempting to issue a mask order. Kemp brushed off news of the report, which came from the Trump administration, as “pandemic politics.”

And in Iowa, where COVID-19 positivity rates are rapidly rising, Kim Reynolds is disregarding the White House’s recommendation to only allow gatherings of ten people or less. She’s planning to allow Iowa State University to welcome an estimated 25,000 fans to its season opener football game.

Read more about GOP governors ignoring White House recommendations below:

  • August Huguelet, Springfield News-Leader: “The White House Coronavirus Task Force became the latest group to recommend Missouri issue a statewide mask mandate last month after noting ‘high levels’ of transmission in close to half of the counties in the state. […] Parson, a Republican, has often encouraged people to wear masks — though he doesn’t always take his own advice. But he’s repeatedly said no to a state mandate despite indications that mask requirements helped slow caseload growth in other states.

  • Casey Nolen, KSDK: “Newly uncovered government documents reportedly suggest Missouri Governor Mike Parson may have ignored a recommendation from the White House to implement a statewide mask mandate. […] But, Parson has never talked about the recommendation publicly and has not issued a mask mandate.”

  • Jim Saksa, Roll Call: “The task force reports recommended that some states implement mask mandates to curb the pandemic’s spread, but the Republican governors of those states refused.”

  • Hunter Woodall, The Daily Beast: “Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt hasn’t been willing to order masks statewide in his conservative stronghold no matter who’s come calling. […] Not even reports from the White House Coronavirus Task Force that have recommended in recent weeks that the state implement a mask requirement has changed his mind.

  • Dan Snyder, KOKH: “The White House Coronavirus Task Force is painting a grim picture of the pandemic in Oklahoma.”

  • Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN: [on Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds] “This is an example of just how quickly things can get out of hand. You know, the basic public health practices that we’ve been talking about, not being widely implemented, not being supported or embraced by the leadership, makes a huge difference.

  • Omar Jimenez, CNN: “Iowa has the highest new case rate in the country. […] Notably, there is not a mask mandate in place here in Iowa. It is something that Governor Kim Reynolds has been reluctant to put in place, even as other states, including Wisconsin for example, have taken that extra step.”

  • Betsy Klein, CNN: “A White House coronavirus task force report sent to officials in Iowa this week warns of dire new case increases across rural and urban areas of the state. […] The report offers recommendations to Iowa, including strongly encouraging a mask mandate. Iowa does not currently mandate masks. […] There are also concerns, per the task force’s report, about spread in nursing homes, calling the number of nursing homes with more than one resident testing positive ‘concerning.’

  • Natasha Chen, CNN:This task force report is scathing when it comes to Georgia. […] This report also goes through what Georgia should be doing better to stop the spread of that virus. […] They’re also talking about a mask mandate in counties with the higher case count and really with their threshold that pretty much covers the entire state, though Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has refused to issue a statewide mask mandate.

  • Sam Whitehead, WABE: “For the second week in a row, a Trump administration assessment of states’ efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus says Georgia is falling behind most of the rest of the country. […] In its latest assessment, the task force makes a number of recommendations to state officials. […] White House reports from previous weeks have made similar suggestions, but Kemp has repeatedly declined to take such steps.”