Biden’s “Neanderthal thinking” remark made out of “frustration and exasperation”: White House

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday responded to questions stemming from President Joe Biden’s remarks on Texas and Mississippi officials lifting restrictions on mask mandates, saying his comments were "a reflection of his frustration and exasperation."

Biden on Wednesday said decisions to end the required wearing of masks, such as those by governors of Texas and Mississippi, amounted to "Neanderthal thinking" given the rising death toll from the coronavirus pandemic.

"The last thing, the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that, ‘In the meantime, everything’s fine, take off your mask, forget it.’ It still matters," Biden said before a brainstorming meeting with Republican and Democratic lawmakers.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued the most sweeping rollback of coronavirus restrictions of any U.S. state on Tuesday, lifting a mask mandate and saying most businesses may open at full capacity next week.

Biden said more than 511,000 people had died of the disease in the United States, and it would take time until everyone eligible was vaccinated.

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