On Monday, Gov. Lujan Grisham had an interview with the Washington Post where she was candid about her COVID-19 pandemic protocols and who gets priority to the vaccine. During the interview, she announced there would be an “absolute mask mandate” even if a county reaches “green” status, despite neighboring states removing COVID-19 restrictions.
She said, “Here’s what won’t change: absolute mask mandates, mandates for social distancing, making sure that businesses go through a safe certified [sic], which also requires each business sector to have very strong COVID-safe practices that we approve as the state and then we do random checks and we also have a complaint hotline.”
While asked about the vaccine, Lujan Grisham claimed the federal government under President Donald Trump sent Moderna COVID-19 shots to CVS and Walgreens for distribution. She then threw CVS and Walgreens under the bus, saying, “They really stumbled out of the gate. Most states are still struggling with them. We brought them all in, and I made it really clear ‘you will be held accountable to the highest standards, you will do these clinics, you will communicate directly with us, you will report directly to us, and if you don’t do it, there are fines and other accountability measures.”
Lujan Grisham noted how her vaccine priority system was “equitable,” meaning racial minorities get first grabs at the shots.
She lamented that “unfortunately, far too high a percentage of health care workers are non-minorities,” saying there is a “lack of representation” in getting vaccines out.
“We can get much more granular at the zip code level to really make sure that we’re reaching high-risk minorit[ies] so you’ve got an equity distribution population,” she said, adding, “We’re actually going to use Census data as we go granular, so we have a vulnerability index factor that looks at everything from socio-economic status to your minority or racial status and household circumstances. That means we’re going to take a certain percentage of vaccine off the top. As long as this amount of vaccine—and now with Johnson and Johnson—continues to increase and come to the states, including us, we think that we can do 25% off the top will go to this vulnerability index system.”
When asked about her COVID-19 restrictions and her message to critics of her strict mandates that shuttered businesses, she said,
“Let’s own that businesses were lost, livelihoods were lost and diminished, and the financial insecurity for far too many New Mexicans and far too many Americans is real.”
Lujan Grisham then claimed she foresaw the pandemic in March when she signed a bloated $7.6 billion budget, claiming she vetoed a “$200 million appropriations bill” to boost state reserves. The appropriations would have funded roads and capital outlay requests.
She also touted Democrats’ work to ram through millions of dollars “to businesses” in a special session, bashing the federal government under President Trump for the Paycheck Protection Program. However, the only reason she was able to send out funds at all was because of the federal CARES Act signed by President Trump.
She added, “We recognize this is a cruel hardship that didn’t invite a pandemic into their (businesses’) doors.”
This is one of Gov. Lujan Grisham’s first interviews since it was discovered she used her discretionary budget to indulge in $200/pound Wagyu beef steaks, alcohol, and expenses for her dog. Conveniently, the Washington Post did not ask her about this.