Austin’s Democratic Mayor Steve Adler blasted Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to lift the statewide mask mandate, but said that President Biden’s "Neanderthal" comment was "not a word that I would have used."
"Wearing a mask doesn't slow down opening up businesses. It doesn't slow down getting more and more children in school in person. The health folks here in Texas seem to be pretty unanimous that wearing masks helps minimize the risk that we're not going to be able to open up schools or open up businesses," Adler told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto on Saturday.
"I'm disappointed that the mandate is being withdrawn. Our governor has said that it's still important to wear masks, and I appreciate that. But by removing the mandate, I think we create an ambiguity. There are many people in the state that are hearing that as a message that masking doesn't work, it's not effective, or that we're past concern on the virus. And that ambiguity and communication is what I have the biggest issue with," the Austin mayor continued.
Both Texas and Mississippi announced this week that they would be lifting coronavirus restrictions on businesses and removing their statewide mask mandates.
On Biden calling the removal of the mask mandates "Neanderthal thinking," Adler said that was "not a word that I have used," but "whatever you want to call it, it's the wrong move."
"We've been able to move that all the way up to the end of May to have enough [vaccines] for every American, to get every adult American to get a shot," Biden told reporters from the White House Wednesday. "The last thing we need is the Neanderthal thinking."
Adler caught heat in December when he filmed a video telling residents to "stay home if you can" while he vacationed in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Adler later apologized.
"I'm sorry I took that trip. It was a lapse in judgment and I want you to know that I apologize," he said.
"I want you to know that I regret that travel," Adler said Thursday. "I wouldn't travel now. I didn't over Thanksgiving and I won't over Christmas and no one should."