- The Washington Times - Friday, March 5, 2021

Sen. Marsha Blackburn on Thursday defended the extinct Neanderthals as “resilient” and “resourceful” after President Biden made a caveman reference in slamming the Republican governors who have moved to lift their states’ mask mandates.

“We were called Neanderthals when I led the fight against imposition of a state income tax in Tennessee,” Ms. Blackburn, Tennessee Republican, told Fox Business. “So you know what I did? I started the Neanderthal caucus because Neanderthals are hunter-gatherers. They’re protectors of their family. They are resilient. They’re resourceful. They tend to their own. 

“So I think Joe Biden needs to rethink what he is saying about the states that are choosing to move away from these mask mandates,” she continued. “In Tennessee we have a lot of people that are moving away from mask mandates, and our counties, and you know what? Our budget is in good shape, our kids are back in school, people are going back to work.”

Mr. Biden faced criticism from conservatives Wednesday after he said it was a “big mistake” that the Republican governors in Texas and Mississippi were ending their statewide mask mandates and loosening restrictions on businesses.

“The last thing we need is the Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime, everything’s fine, take off your mask. Forget it. It still matters,” Mr. Biden told reporters as he met with a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the Oval Office.

Iowa, Montana and North Dakota are also dropping their statewide mandates, joining the 11 other states that never had a mandate during the coronavirus pandemic.

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte said Mr. Biden‘s comments were out of line.

“For a president that called for unity to degrade himself to name-calling, doesn’t make any sense at all,” Mr. Gianforte told Fox News Friday morning.

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