BOISE, Idaho (AP) – Idaho Gov. Brad Little on Friday issued an executive order repealing a mask mandate prohibition put in place while he was out of the state by the lieutenant governor, describing her actions as a tyrannical abuse of power and an “irresponsible, self-serving political stunt.”
The Republican governor up to now had been reserved in his comments about Republican Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, a member of the far-right who has worked to undermine Little’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Last week she announced her run for governor, challenging the first-term incumbent Little. Her executive order Thursday banning mask mandates in schools and public buildings is widely seen as part of that campaign, and she is already using that executive order in fundraising efforts.
Little has never issued a statewide mask-mandate, but counties, cities and schools have issued their own directives. Many have been lifted as more Idaho residents have been vaccinated, but two counties and 10 cities still have them in place, as do multiple schools.
About 590,000 of Idaho’s 1.8 million residents have been vaccinated. State officials have reported that the virus has killed more than 2,000 people in the state and sickened some 190,000.
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