BOISE, Idaho — Last week, Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin went on the Crosspolitic podcast, a religious-oriented show based out of Moscow, and discussed her "tense" relationship with Republican Governor Brad Little.
During her appearance, she talked about how Idaho is handling the COVID-19 pandemic and she told the hosts that we are doing it wrong.
"I agree that we need to do all that we can to protect our frontline workers, the elderly and those who are compromised health-wise but I also believe it's important that we protect our economy and I don't think that those two goals need to be mutually exclusive," the first-term Republican lieutenant governor said.
By we, McGeachin specifically means Gov. Little. She has not been silent in her criticism and disapproval of deeming some businesses essential and not others.
McGeachin has also urged Idahoans to disobey Gov. Little's stay at home order and his phased reopening plan for Idaho. She attended both in-person and online rallies to get the governor to reconsider his plans and reopen everything right away.
In one of her recent newsletters, McGeachin details her escapades of disobeying Gov. Little's stay at home order and phased opening plans. She attended the Liberate Idaho Rally at the Capitol Building last Friday and helped Hardware Brewing in Kendrick later that day.
McGeachin and Idaho GOP Chairman and former Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador took pictures with the bar's owners and were posted on social media. No one in the photos is wearing a face mask or practicing social distancing.
KTVB reached out to McGeachin for comment but she declined the opportunity and said she is focused on helping Idaho businesses prepare to reopen.
"Right now, the Lt. Governor is focused on helping local business owners as they prepare to reopen. At present, she is coordinating with local governments and the Eastern Idaho Public Health District," her spokesperson told KTVB. "Due to these priorities, she is respectfully declining to participate in media inquiries or interviews at this time."
She was able to spend 20 minutes on a podcast to talk about the backlash she has seen since speaking out against Gov. LIttle's plan, which would push the complete reopening of Idaho's businesses to the end of June.
With the two's views on reopening Idaho in stark contrast, what does their work relationship look like? According to McGeachin, it's been tense because of the difference in opinions and lack of communication between the two.
For example, she said a week before the stay at home order was set to expire, all while Idaho's new, confirmed cases of the coronavirus per day decline for 14 days, McGeachin said she sent Gov. Little a message.
"So I messaged the governor and I said, 'Look, Governor, oh happy day, you could right now today declare that we are in phase one of reopening,' I didn't get a response from that," she said. "To be totally honest with you the relationship between the governor's office and my office is tense... but it's a tense relationship right now over a period of weeks. Yes, I have been involved with getting daily updates from the governor's staff but I've never been a part of the decision-making circle, my advice has never really been asked for it's never been taken."
McGeachin went onto say that their tense relationship and lack of communication have been going on for weeks. She added that she isn't the only one concerned about who the governor has surrounded himself with and who he is listening to. McGeachin said she wasn't the only Idaho lawmaker to feel that way.
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So what does Gov. Little think of all of this? Well, he has avoided directly answering that when he's been publicly asked repeatedly and just said everyone is entitled to their own opinions.
KTVB reached out to Little's camp for a direct answer but we have not heard back at the time of this article's publication. The same also goes for Raul Labrador, who has yet to respond to our requests for comment.
The 208 has extended an open invitation to Little, McGeachin, and Labrador to come onto the show and answer any of these questions.
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