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Governor Stitt Defends Decision To Reopen Oklahoma, Dismisses 'Monday Morning Quarterbacks'


In an appearance on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt defended his decision to allow the state's businesses to reopen.

"We peaked at hospitalizations with 560 across the state," Stitt said. "Today we have 300 across the state in our hospitals. And so we think it's time for a measured reopening."

Wallace asked Stitt about statements by Dr. Monks, president of the Oklahoma State Medical Association, in which Monks characterized the reopening as too early and not in keeping with White House guidelines.

"Well, I don't know exactly who that is," Stitt said, adding that his health department had signed off on his plans for a phased reopening. 

"And you could always play Monday morning quarterback and say, hey, let's wait until we have 100 folks in the hospital in Oklahoma or 50 or zero, but I just don't think that's practical," Stitt said.

Wallace also addressed comments from mayors of Oklahoma's largest cities that expressed concern over the timing of the governor's reopen plan, quoting Norman Mayor Breea Clark, a Democrat, as saying that Stitt, a Republican, is pitting Oklahoma's cities against one another in a situation reminiscent of the Hunger Games film franchise.

"Well, you know, I've got a great relationship with the mayors across the state," Stitt said. "But I'm thinking about all 4 million Oklahomans." (The combined population of Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Norman is over one million, about a quarter of Oklahoma's total state population.)

Wallace also played a clip of President Trump at the White House expressing concern that it may be too early to open salons and spas, and asked Stitt, who allowed those businesses to reopen last week, if the president was wrong. Stitt did not answer.

The governor's plan allows for restaurants, movie theatres, gyms, and places of worship to open later this week, with bars allowed to reopen May 15th. According to a report from scientists at the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, an institute often referenced by the White House, Oklahoma's projected date to begin reopening safely is June 17th.

Chris joined Public Radio Tulsa as a news anchor and reporter in April 2020. He’s a graduate of Hunter College and the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, both at the City University of New York.
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