For the second time this year, Republican Idaho Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin attempted to take advantage of Republican Idaho Gov. Brad Little's absence to issue a COVID-19 related executive order — but the governor isn't having any of it.
With Little out of state Tuesday, McGeachin issued an executive order barring employers in the state from implementing vaccine mandates for employees, the Associated Press reported.
Little was in Texas meeting with nine other Republican governors over concerns about President Biden's handling of the crisis at the U.S. southern border when the order was issued. But after he caught wind of McGeachin's maneuvering, Little issued a statement saying that he never authorized the order and vowing to repeal it immediately upon his return.
"I am in Texas performing my duties as the duly elected Governor of Idaho, and I have not authorized the Lt. Governor to act on my behalf," Little said in a statement shortly after arriving in Texas on Tuesday. "I will be rescinding and reversing any actions taken by the Lt. Governor when I return."
The AP noted that Little is expected back in the state Wednesday evening. The news agency also noted that in Idaho, the governor and lieutenant governor don't run on the same ticket. In fact, McGeachin is running for governor against Little in the state's next election.
McGeachin wasn't finished there, however. She also sought to deploy Idaho National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border this week in Little's absence.
In a letter to Maj. Gen. Michael J. Garshak obtained by the AP, McGeachin wrote, "As of Wednesday, my constitutional authority as Governor affords me the power of activating the Idaho National Guard. As the Adjutant General, I am requesting information from you on the steps needed for the Governor to activate the National Guard."
The lieutenant governor's request was ultimately rebuffed, but Little took notice of the attempt and used it to slam his opponent.
"Attempting to deploy our National Guard for political grandstanding is an affront to the Idaho constitution and insults the men and women who have dedicated their life to serving our state and the country," Little said in a statement.
In May, while Little was in Nashville, Tennessee, attending a meeting of the Republican Governors Association, McGeachin issued an executive order barring local governments from implementing mask mandates.
Little, who had never implemented a statewide mask mandate in Idaho, called the order an "irresponsible, self-serving political stunt."