How bad are things going for you when you can't answer some simple questions from either CNN's Jake Tapper or NBC's Chuck Todd? Watch these two interviews with Republican Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves and find out. Reeves made appearances on both CNN's State of the Union and NBC's Meet the Press this Sunday, and both of the generally passive milquetoast host grilled Reeves over and over again about the abysmal child poverty rates, infant mortality, lack of health care for women, and what's going to happen if Roe V. Wade is overturned, as it appears likely, and his state's trigger laws go into effect.
Reeves didn't have any good answers for either of them, and here's a sample of some of the questions and his lame answers:
TAPPER: So, the snapback law in -- that was passed in 2007 has no exception for incest.
So, assuming that the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, the state of Mississippi will force girls and women who are the victims of incest to carry those childs (sic) to term. Can you explain why that is going to be your law?
REEVES: Well, that's going to be the law because, in 2007, the Mississippi legislature passed it.
I will tell you, Jake -- and this sort of speaks to how far the Democrats in Washington have come on this issue -- but, in 2007, when the trigger law was put in place, we had a Democrat speaker of the House and we had a Democrat chairman of the Public Health Committee in the Mississippi House of Representatives.
TAPPER: Yes, but why are you going to...
REEVES: And it passed this particular piece of legislation.
TAPPER: Why is it acceptable to force girls who are victims of incest to carry those child -- children to term?
REEVES: Well, as you know, Jake, over 92 percent of all abortions in America are elective procedures.
When you look at the number of those that actually -- involve incest, it's less than 1 percent. And if we need to have that conversation in the future about potential...
TAPPER: This is your law.
REEVES: ... exceptions in the trigger law, we can certainly do that.
But the reality is that, again, that affects less than 1 percent of all abortions in America on an annual base.
TAPPER: OK, but that is going to be the law of Mississippi.
Let me ask you, what about a fetus that has serious or fatal abnormalities that will not allow that fetus to live outside the womb? Is the state of Mississippi going to force those girls and women who have this tragedy inside them to carry the child to term? Are you going to force them to do that?
REEVES: Well, Jake, I will tell you, I think that these questions illustrate exactly what we have been talking about.
And that is, you're dealing in examples that are rare and are a very small percentage of the overall abortions. And the reason for that is because, when you talk to Americans, regardless of what the polling says with respect to overturning Roe v. Wade, the vast majority of Americans recognize that the abortion laws in America right now, that is what are extreme.
America's abortion laws are extreme, relative to the rest of the Western world.
Or in other words, we're not going to do a thing about it and if you're one of the women who dies due to this, well, too bad for you. Tapper also hit Reeves over the fact that his state has no exception for women and girls who are victims of incest, and then he asked Reeves about his statements that life begins at conception, and whether they plan to go after contraception next. After some weasel words from Reeves on waiting to see the actual ruling by the Supreme Court, Tapper pressed him again:
TAPPER: But, just to be clear, the state of Mississippi, you're not going to then target IUD or Plan B, which are methods of birth control that might not allow a fertilized egg to be implanted.
And this is not a theoretical construct. This is not -- in the state of Louisiana, which I recognize is a neighboring state, not your state, I mean, they're talking about not only criminally charging girls and women who get abortions, as -- you know, as being -- committing homicide, but they're also talking about defining the moment of conception as fertilization, which would theoretically, if this were to become the law of Louisiana -- and it is not yet -- mean that murder -- if you use an IUD, you are committing murder, theoretically.
So it's not -- I'm not making this up. This is -- these are the conversations going on in legislatures in your area.
But, so, just to be clear, you have no intention of seeking to ban IUDs or Plan B?
REEVES: That is not what we're focused on at this time.
I'll take that as a "yes" we absolutely plan on going after birth control next.
Things didn't go any better for Reeves on Meet the Press.
Todd hit Reeves with the same question on birth control, but of course there was no follow up when Reeves refused to answer, but he did at least also hit him on his state's terrible track record on child poverty and caring for children after they're born:
CHUCK TODD: Look, you've just said that you believe life begins at conception. If there is legislation brought to you to ban contraception, would you sign it?
GOV. TATE REEVES: Well, I don't think that's going to happen in Mississippi. I'm sure they'll have those conversations in other states.
CHUCK TODD: But you're not answering the question.
GOV. TATE REEVES: As is always the case with things -- well, that's always the case. There's so many things that we can talk about. What the next movement in the pro-life movement in my view, Chuck, is simple. And that is we must prove that being pro-life is not just about anti-abortion. What we want to do next is we want to continue to focus on the two things that are very important, and that is ensuring that those expectant mothers have the resources that they need. That's why in Mississippi this year we invested significant additional resources in pregnancy resource centers and that we are working to build a system. We have 37 of those in Mississippi, and we're working to build a system throughout our state to ensure that every expectant mother has access to the information and the education that they need.
The second piece of the equation, and the second piece of the next phase of the pro-life movement, is we've got to make sure that we make it easier on those babies that are born, either through the potential for adoptive services – we've got to make it easier for adoptions. We've got to find resources for adoptions. We've got to also make sure that we improve our foster care system. In Mississippi, for instance, we invested over $100 million combined of our ARPA funds as well as other state funds to improve technology at our Department of Human Services, at our Child Protection Services –
CHUCK TODD: Yeah.
GOV. TATE REEVES: – so that those babies that are not adopted that end up in our foster care system, that we care for them and we do so in a way that recognizes the importance of the next phase of the movement.
CHUCK TODD: Governor, though, you're a state that really doesn't do a good job of helping children. One in three Mississippi children live in poverty. If you're going to order women to be pregnant – and that's what your law is going to do, the state is going to order women to stay pregnant – you're talking about providing resources while they're pregnant.
What are you going to do for that child after they're born? What are you going to do for that mother? Are you – you know, again, I look back at Mississippi's numbers here. Child poverty is already at a level that is, to me, should be unsustainable. Why should we believe that you're going to provide the resources for these women if they have these babies?
I can answer that for you Chuck. Nothing, and we shouldn't. If this guy can't handle these two, what's he going to do if he ever finds himself in the air with someone who actually keeps pressing him until he answers a follow up question? I'm sure he'll do his best to make sure that never happens.