Republican governors are already pushing back on president-elect Joe Biden's plans to help bring the coronavirus pandemic under control.
The Democratic president-elect says he'll personally call GOP governors in hopes of persuading them to impose mask mandates to slow the spread of the deadly virus, but Politico reports those efforts are probably doomed to fail.
“If President-elect Biden is indeed confirmed to be the next president," said Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, "and he approaches me about a mask mandate, I would not be going along with a mask mandate."
Almost all of the 16 GOP governors who oppose statewide mask orders intend to reject Biden's request, although some will impose new restrictions on businesses and public gatherings as the nation sets records for new cases on a daily basis.
“As far as a mandate, I’ve been very clear I don’t think this it’s the right thing to do,” said Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, who was infected earlier this year with the coronavirus. “This is a personal responsibility."
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, whose state has been ravaged by the virus since it hosted the Sturgis motorcycle rally over the summer, remains unconvinced of the need for mandatory mask orders.
“Governor Noem has provided her people with the full scope of the science, facts, and data regarding the virus, and then she has trusted them to exercise their personal responsibility to make the best decisions for themselves and their loved-ones,” her spokesman Ian Fury wrote in an email. “She will not be changing that approach.”
Some Republican governors -- such as Alabama's Kay Ivey and Indiana's Eric Holcomb -- issued mask orders months ago, and Utah's Gary Herbert imposed one Sunday as the state's hospitals became overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients, but some remain holdouts.
“We need to be nimble in our decision-making, but for the time-being, he’s confident the local-based approach is the most effective,” said a spokesperson for Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee.