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Idaho’s Anti-Vax Lt. Governor Tried to Do a Little Coup While the Actual Gov. Was Away on a Work Trip

Idaho Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin speaks during a mask burning rally

Idaho’s Governor Brad Little was in Texas yesterday, along with a group of other Republican governors meeting to discuss immigration. And while he was gone, Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin decided to do a little coup.

“Today, as Acting Governor, I fixed Gov. Little’s Executive Order on ‘vaccine passports’ to make sure that K-12 schools and universities cannot require vaccinations OR require mandatory testing,” McGeachin tweeted on Tuesday. “I will continue to fight for your individual Liberty!”

According to the Associated Press, McGeachin also inquired about sending the National Guard to the Texas/Mexico border.

Little says that he did not authorize McGeachin to act on his behalf. He’s not incapacitated, he’s in Texas. He said that when he returns to Idaho, he would immediately be “rescinding and reversing” any of McGeachin’s actions. He also called her attempt to deploy National Guard troops to Texas—the place where he himself is—”political grandstanding.”

The attempt to “fix” Little’s COVID-19 policies is also very clearly “political grandstanding.” McGeachin—pictured above speaking at a “mask burning event” this past March—is currently running for governor of the state and this is an obvious attempt to appeal to angry anti-mask, anti-vax voters.

What makes all this even more weirdly performative is the fact that Little already issued his own ban on “vaccine passports.” He’s been vocal in his opposition to President Biden’s vaccine mandates and while he urged people to get vaccinated, he refused to issue a state mandate, and in April, he signed an order banning vaccine mandates for government employees.

But apparently that’s not enough for McGeachin, who wants to do away with literally all COVID-19 precautions, even as her state invoked “crisis standards of care,” rationing health care to keep up with the “massive increase in the number of coronavirus patients requiring hospitalization,” according to NPR.

(image: Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.