New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) met resistance from CBS host Margaret Brennan on Sunday after he compared wearing face masks to being put in a “penalty box.”
During an interview on Face the Nation, Brennan noted that Sununu had canceled his inauguration because of armed anti-vaccine protesters.
“Is that kind of security risk why you’re not putting in place a mask mandate?” she wondered.
“Oh, no, no,” Sununu insisted. “It’s not a factor at all. That’s a very small contingency.”
The governor explained that he would need to declare a state of emergency to order a mask mandate.
“What you’re really telling folks is thank you for making the sacrifice and getting the vaccine, getting the boosters, doing the right thing and you’re still in the penalty box!” Sununu said.
“Penalty box!” Brennan exclaimed. “No! It’s not a penalty box. I mean, for people with unvaccinated family members, small children, immunocompromised, it’s just putting on a mask.”
“Sure,” Sununu replied. “If I were to put a mask mandate in now when do I undo it? Covid isn’t going away for the next couple of years. We’re going to have Omicron, we’re going to have new variants.”
“How about the winter?” Brennan asked.
“At the end of the winter? Then it comes back again and then the state of emergency is on and then it’s off,” Sununu complained.
“You said winter was a factor,” Brennan pointed out. “So keep a mask on for winter. Take it off in the warm weather.”
Sununu insisted that he “strongly” encouraged people to wear masks “but that is just one small piece of the equation here.”
“At the end of the day, it’s about personal responsibility, getting that vaccine, getting that booster, being smart about it, getting yourself tested early,” he said. “All of these are the most important piece of the puzzle to bend the curve and making sure we push back on Covid.”
Despite his calls for people to be vaccinated, Sununu’s state is currently suing the Biden administration over vaccine mandate rules.