There are times when one watches a news interview and has to wonder if the remote somehow placed the viewer on the comedy channel. Such was the case when watching Face The Nation this morning where Mississippi Tate Reeves proved not every southern politician is ready for prime time.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We’re glad to have you. According to Johns Hopkins, your state has a positivity rate of twenty-three percent, which is the highest in the nation when it comes to COVID infections. Where are you headed going into a fall that the CDC warns could be the worst ever?
GOVERNOR TATE REEVES: Well, I haven’t seen that particular data, but what I can tell you is in our state, we peaked with a seven-day average of one thousand three hundred and ninety-one cases on– on July the 29th. As of yesterday, we had brought that number down considerably to seven hundred and twenty-eight cases per the state of Mississippi for a seven-day trailing average.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But your state, I mean, I’m looking at a statement from your state health officer, it says that you have eleven hospitals with zero ICU beds currently available. That seems dangerous. Don’t you need to take more stringent measures? I mean, you seem to be characterizing this as under control, but this looks like your medical system could be overwhelmed.
GOVERNOR TATE REEVES: Well, Margaret, I think you may be looking at data that’s two or three weeks old, but the reality is in our state–
MARGARET BRENNAN: No, this is from a briefing this week with your state health officer.
GOVERNOR TATE REEVES: Well, the reality is in our state that we’ve actually cut the total number of cases on a daily basis in half over the last two and a half weeks. We peaked at thirteen hundred ninety-one as I mentioned earlier. We’re down around seven hundred right now. Do we have hospital capacity issues? We do. But the reality is, Margaret, in our state and virtually every other rural state across America, we have ICU bed issues and– and hospital capacity issues even when there’s not COVID-19.
So, knowing this information, in the good years there was nothing done in Mississippi to ensure that such a lack of medical capacity was resolved.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Right. You could shut down bars, for instance, to stop that community spread as the White House has asked some states to do. I do want to move on, though, because–
GOVERNOR TATE REEVES: We– we have significantly limited bars in Mississippi.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Right, they close at 11: 00 PM.
That brought a howl of laughter from this home.
GOVERNOR TATE REEVES: I am confident that the– the ballots that are legally cast in the state of Mississippi will be counted and I’m also very confident that Donald J. Trump–
MARGARET BRENNAN: What do you mean legally cast?
Oh, we know what that means in Mississippi.
GOVERNOR TATE REEVES: –is going to win Mississippi and he’s going to win it big. Every– every vote that is legally cast in the state of Mississippi will be counted in the November election, and I’m confident that once all of those votes are counted that Donald J. Trump is going to win Mississippi–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.
GOVERNOR TATE REEVES: –and many other states overwhelmingly.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah, I asked you what legally cast meant but– so your state doesn’t currently allow for absentee ballots, for fear of getting COVID. Like if someone doesn’t want it– doesn’t feel safe going to a polling booth and wants to vote by mail, you don’t allow for that right now. Why not?
GOVERNOR TATE REEVES: We– we do not allow mail-in voting in the state of Mississippi. We think that– that our elections process, which has been in place for many, many years, is a– ensures that we have a fair process in which we have the opportunity to limit fraud. We still have fraudulent claims every single election. We’ve actually got many–
MARGARET BRENNAN: You have a positivity rate of twenty-three percent.
GOVERNOR TATE REEVES: –folks in our state that have had– Democrats that have had–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Aren’t you worried about the health of your constituents?
GOVERNOR TATE REEVES: –Democrats that have gone to jail because of election fraud and it is just reality.
MARGARET BRENNAN: First of all, that’s– that’s is not substantiated, but–
GOVERNOR TATE REEVES: The reality is that– that every legal ballot cast is going to get counted.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You have a positivity rate of twenty-three percent in the state of Mississippi. Can you tell people that they can go to the voting booths and not get COVID? Why don’t you offer the option for someone who’s afraid of their health, someone with asthma, someone with diabetes, someone who’s overweight to send in their ballot by mail?
GOVERNOR TATE REEVES: Well, we’re not going to allow them to send in the ballot by mail unless they legally qualify for an absentee ballot–
Some interviews are priceless.