Idaho Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin on Monday defended her decision to impose a ban on mask mandates while Gov. Brad Little was traveling out of state, arguing the surprise move was necessary to protect individual freedoms from government overreach.
Little, also a Republican, accused McGeachin of attempting a “self-serving political stunt” in a scathing statement last week announcing his reversal of her executive action. McGeachin, who has been critical of Little’s leadership throughout the pandemic, said the ban on mask mandates was “absolutely not” a bid to garner publicity for her recently announced 2022 gubernatorial run.
“My action was to uphold my sworn oath to uphold and protect the rights of our citizens in Idaho, as guaranteed to us in our U.S. constitution, our Idaho constitution and the rule of law in Idaho,” McGeachin said in an interview with Fox News. “That is what I did.”
While Idaho never implemented a statewide mask mandate during the pandemic, state law allows local governments to dictate their own public health policies. McGeachin enacted an executive order banning local mandates while Little traveled out of state for the Republican Governors Association conference in Nashville, Tennessee.
IDAHO GOV. REPEALS BAN ON MASK MANDATES, ACCUSES LT. GOV. OF ‘ABUSE OF POWER’
McGeachin’s order lifted requirements at several institutions, including public buildings and schools. The action did not apply to hospitals or other health care facilities. Little reversed the ban within 24 hours of its implementation.
The lieutenant governor said she had hoped Little would leave her ban in place.
“I truly hoped that the governor would see the value in this. We’re at a different place today for sure than we were then,” McGeachin said. “The vaccine is readily a
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