CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Political commentator Keith Olbermann Tuesday sparked controversy after tweeting, “Why are we wasting vaccinations on Texas,” in response to Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to lift a mask mandate and fully open businesses.
Olbermann addressed the comment on Wednesday night’s episode of ‘Banfield’ on NewsNation.
“That’s not saying, nobody should get the vaccine,” Olbermann said to host Ashleigh Banfield.
“I don’t want anybody to not get the vaccine in Texas,” he said. “I got the vaccine on Sunday, and if they’ve already gotten to me, everybody should have it by now. So, you know, that’s not … I’m just saying … philosophically, where does this come from that you think it’s OK to say, ‘we’re not going to have any masks anymore.’ Lord knows how many people will die as a result of that — with or without the vaccines — it’s nuts.”
In addition to lifting the state’s mask mandate, Gov. Abbott lifted limits on the number of diners that businesses can serve indoors.
“It’s time to reopen Texas 100%,” Abbott said. “So that any business that wants to open can open.”
Under a new executive order to take effect next Wednesday, Texas will allow any business to open at 100% capacity if they choose to, NewsNation affiliate KXAN reported.
Banfield: Did you get a lot of backlash? Have you sort of been answering the phone all day?
Olbermann: “No, here’s the first thing that I learned about Twitter, and I didn’t learn about it until 2015, but my hair — even though it’s pretty much white now — see this stuff over here that’s all black? That’s all come in since I stopped reading the replies on Twitter. So, the key to Twitter is to say just what you want to say and don’t read the replies. You don’t have to block anybody and occasionally, if you want to see what they have to say, fine.
The episode was recorded before Olbermann issued a reply later in the day on Twitter.
“This was needlessly harsh and I apologize for it,” he said.
Olbermann joined Banfield for an hour to discuss his career, political beliefs and dogs.
“Banfield” is a talk show hosted on the NewsNation network.