A bit of sanity from a Trump backer and otherwise horrible human being in West Virginia's Jim Justice. But I suppose when your ambitions don't go beyond your own state, as they do with South Dakota's loathsome Kristi Noem, there's a certain flexibility in recognizing the reality that masks save lives and keep healthcare costs down.
Source: KDKA, Pittsburgh
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice blasted critics of his mask mandate Wednesday, saying he would not follow the lead of other Republican governors rejecting the advice of public health experts.
“I don’t want to be South Dakota,” Justice said at a news conference. He then played a news clip from the state, where Gov. Kristi Noem has refused to issue a mask mandate, reporting that South Dakota has the most deaths per capita linked to COVID-19 in the world.
There are 13 states currently without a statewide mask mandate in effect, all led by Republican governors.
“I know that we are a strong-willed people in West Virginia and we have our rights and no one is trying to infringe on your rights in any way,” he added, a reference to some conservatives in the state who criticize his pandemic executive orders.
Justice has vocally defended mask-wearing and recently tightened a mandate to wear one indoors when in public at all times as cases have skyrocketed in rural enclaves. He has resisted more stringent lockdown measures and championed for schools to stay open where outbreaks are less severe.
West Virginia’s GOP Governor - who implemented a statewide mask mandate - then his residents I’m trying to take any of your rights away, but I don’t have bullets left in the gun.
— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) November 26, 2020