‘The tone of the governor’s tweet is totally unnecessary’: Reeves blasts city for erroneous press release

(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)(Rogelio V. Solis | AP)
Published: Sep. 2, 2022 at 11:27 AM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Gov. Tate Reeves is blasting the city of Jackson for a press release announcing a 1 p.m. joint press conference between the mayor and the governor, one that the governor was apparently not privy to.

“Accurate information is important - especially in times of crisis,” Reeves wrote. “We will continue to provide substantive updates. No 1:00 event today, but we will provide an update on the state’s work alongside our experts.”

The news comes a day after the governor and Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba appeared in public for the first time together since the city’s water crisis began.

At that press conference, the mayor spoke about the “unity” between the administrations.

However, the mayor was initially not invited to speak at that event.

“The news conference held yesterday, the mayor was not originally invited to speak. However, because he was there, the governor graciously invited him to say a few words at the podium,” Jackson Director of Communications Melissa Faith Payne said.

Payne said Friday’s press release was sent out erroneously and should have been recalled sooner. She said had the governor’s representatives contacted her office, all of this could have been avoided.

“It should’ve never been sent. It should have been recalled about an hour ago,” she said. “But it is what it is. The tone of the governor’s tweet is unnecessary.”

During a press conference on Monday, when the state said it was stepping in to address problems at the O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant, the governor said he had not invited the mayor to attend.

“I didn’t personally invite the mayor tonight. I don’t know if anyone else did or not,” Reeves said. “Obviously, we made a decision very, very quickly in the last couple of hours to have this event.”

Hunter Estes, the governor’s spokesman, said in a Tweet shared by the governor that “we have not invited city politicians to these substantive state press conferences on our repairs, because they occur to provide honest information about the state’s work.”

We have reached out to the governor’s office for a response.

The tweet also comes as Lumumba and Reeves field questions about whether the two are unified in their response to the crisis.

On Thursday, Reeves said the media was attempting to pit the two against each other.

“I know you in the press really want to play the blame game and you really want to focus on pitting different people against one another, and that’s certainly your priority. That’s fine. What we’re focused on is the immediate health and welfare of Jackson residents,” Reeves said. “There will be plenty of time in the future to play the blame game... and y’all can do all of that you want to do. You can do that in real-time... but I ain’t got time for it.”

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