After signing into law a bill that would block mask mandates throughout the state, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson is saying, “My bad.” According to the New York Times, the Republican is now regretting his decision to block most governing bodies in the state from instituting mask mandates.
Signed into law in April, Act 1002 makes it so that neither Gov. Hutchinson nor the Department of Health can instate a mask mandate across the state. This has become a problem recently not only because of the delta variant, but because school is back in session. Just last week, seven students and three staff members in the Marion School District tested positive for COVID, forcing 168 people to quarantine. Days later, on Monday, 18 more people tested positive.
Suffice it to say, Gov. Hutchinson is trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube. In a press conference on Tuesday, the governor, who once said that his favorite part of college was playing ping pong in the Baptist Student Union, came to the people of Arkansas like a former lover with nothing but excuses. “Well, I signed it at the time because our cases were at a very low point. I knew it'd be overridden by the legislature if I didn’t sign it... I already eliminated our statewide mask mandate,” he said.
Doubling down, Gov. Hutchinson said, “I signed it for those reasons that our cases were at a low point. Everything has changed now. And yes, in hindsight I wish that had not become law,” he said.
This is not the only time this year Gov. Hutchinson has made a villainous decision, only to cast himself as a hero mere moments later. In March, he signed a bill banning transgender women and girls from competing on sports teams that align with their gender identity. Then, in April, he vetoed a ban on gender confirming surgery and treatment. Trans people can exist, but they cannot play soccer, apparently.
The governor also signed a near-total ban on abortions in March, even though he had “expressed reservations” over it.
Make up your mind, king. The word on the street is that you want to run for president, and you’ve got to be a man of conviction if that’s the case. Take a note from your fellow governor Ron DeSantis and go full evil. To quote Future, “Fuck it, mask off,” (get it?).