: Biden tells governors opposing masks to help or ‘get out of the way’

United States

President Joe Biden on Tuesday continued to urge Americans to get COVID-19 vaccines and use masks to end the pandemic, while criticizing governors and states who oppose face coverings.

Biden blasted state laws that discourage masking, saying seven states “not only ban mask mandates, but also ban them in their school districts, even for young children who cannot get vaccinated.” He singled out Texas for having the “most extreme” measures, such as threatening fines if a teacher asks unvaccinated students to mask up.

“If some governors aren’t willing to do the right thing to beat this pandemic, then they should allow businesses and universities who want to do the right thing to be able to do it,” the president said. “I say to these governors: Please help, but if you aren’t going to help, at least get out of the way of people who are trying to do the right thing.”

In response to a reporter’s question, Biden said that for two Republican governors — Greg Abbott of Texas and Ron DeSantis of Florida — the “results of their decisions are not good for their constituents.”

Abbott, for his part, tweeted earlier Tuesday that Biden’s administration is “contemplating more draconian controls on U.S. citizens,” but “allowing illegal migrants with COVID to freely enter America.”

Biden’s remarks come a day after the U.S. reached the milestone of having 70% of American adults receive at least one dose of the vaccine. The 70% goal was achieved nearly a month later than his original target of July 4.

Biden and other officials on Tuesday also touted an achievement related to the president’s pledge to have the U.S. serve as “an arsenal of vaccines.” The country now has donated and shipped more than 110 million vaccine doses to 65 other nations, more than all other donors combined, Biden said.

In addition, Biden confirmed that his administration was developing a new eviction moratorium focused on the areas hardest hit by the delta variant of the coronavirus.

Related: Biden to make fresh plea for the unvaccinated to get their shots after CDC raises alarm on delta variant of COVID-19

U.S. stocks  SPX, +0.82% DJIA, +0.80% closed higher Tuesday as investors assessed corporate earnings and grappled with concerns over how the global economy will withstand the delta variant, as well as Chinese regulatory action against tech stocks.