The White House defended Joe Biden accusing Texas and Mississippi of having “Neanderthal thinking”, saying he was talking about their “behaviour” and not calling them actual Neanderthals.

Press secretary Jen Psaki said it was a reflection of his frustration at governors rolling back Covid lockdowns, recognizing that the president can’t enforce a national mask mandate.

It comes as Donald Trump tried to shift the blame for the Senate race defeats in Georgia, saying Mitch McConnell only offering $600 stimulus checks led to the defeats of Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue.

On the US Mexico border, child migrants detained by authorities have increased 583 per cent under Joe Biden, according to internal documents from the Department of Health and Human services reported by Axios.

An average of 321 children are taken into custody per day in the week ending March 1, compared to just 47 under the Trump administration during the first week of January.

The White House denied reports that it had reviewed the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines for people who have already received a Covid-19 vaccination.

Earlier reports claimed the administration’s Covid-19 taskforce told the CDC to “hold off on releasing” the recommendations during a series of meetings and calls over the last two days.

As questions mount, Biden himself is under increasing pressure to hold a press conference after going 43 days without facing the media. Of the 15 president of the past 100 years, all have held a press conference within 33 days of being sworn into office. Trump did it 27 days in. Obama outdid Trump by a week at 20 days.

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• Biden criticises Texas and Mississippi governors for dropping Covid restrictions

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