Governor Hutchinson was invited again to ABC’s “This Week” today to talk about his decision last week to impose a mask mandate.

The interview by Martha Raddatz didn’t note that sheriffs across the state are refusing to enforce the mandate.

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It allows Hutchinson to dish his usual spin, that his reopening of some elements of the state had nothing to do with the rapid rise of COVID-19 in the state and that the economy is important.

He said:

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This last week, we reported — it was reported that we have an 8 percent unemployment rate. It’s declined a couple of percentage points, which means people are going back to work.

Not exactly, as Workforce Services explained in the last monthly unemployment report. The number working in Arkansas declined in June by 33,000. A spokesman explained:

“Despite moving into Phase 2 of reopening in June, there was a notable increase in the number of survey respondents in Arkansas reporting that they were not employed or had dropped out of
the labor force. This was due in part to changes in seasonal summer hiring trends and recent temporary layoffs/closures.
These reported losses more than offset the hiring that occurred in June.”

Hutchinson said he agreed with Donald Trump that there was no need for a national mask mandate. But he said masks should be worn and national leadership should set an example. (Attn. Donald Trump.)

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Then he blamed Democrats in Congress for lack of help for states in testing. And he claimed, against evidence to the contrary, “There’s a lot of help coming from the federal government. So it’s not a time to be critical.”

Raddatz missed a chance to ask Hutchinson what took so long after he said about his mask order:

It’s not popular. It’s not something we want to do. It’s not the first lever we pull. But it is one that, when the data says it’s necessary, we do it.

Same old same old.

PS: Some pretty remarkable baloney, even for Donald Trump, in his interview on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. He’ll eventually be proved right that the virus is going to disappear. Will he accept an election defeat? He’s not ready to say. AP fact-checked him.

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