President Joe Biden recently announced that vaccinated individuals no longer have to wear a mask indoors or outdoors, as well as social distance with other vaccinated people. He shared this in the White House Rose Garden just hours after attending a masked meeting with other vaccinated congressional leaders. Talk about giving a political show.
“Today is a great day for America. If you’ve been vaccinated, you don’t have to wear your mask and you can shake hands. You can even give each other a hug. But if you’ve not been vaccinated, please wear a mask,” Biden said.
Biden appeared unmasked for the outdoor remarks on the latest Centers for Disease Control & Prevention mask guidelines despite his Oval Office meeting earlier that day. He called on people who abandon their masks to be pleasant towards those who continue to wear them and said there will be no government enforcement to make sure people are vaccinated if they aren’t wearing a mask.
When asked by CNN’s John Berman why Biden continues to wear a mask with other vaccinated congressional leaders, White House Senior Advisor for Coronavirus Response Andy Slavitt replied that Biden wears a mask indoors “because he’s a very important person.”
In a video of the White House Meeting, President Biden is wearing a face mask during an Oval Office meeting with Vice President Kamala Harris, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy – all of whom are vaccinated against the coronavirus.
“Part of getting people vaccinated is to tell them that their lives will be different, changed, better, if they get the vaccine. So why were they all wearing masks? And what message does that send?” Berman asked.
While Slavitt replied that the CDC is getting there “step by step,” he said you can do everything indoors or outdoors without a mask on around vaccinated people. Berman asked again why they were all wearing masks during the meeting if they are all vaccinated.
“I’m not too sure that the president is the average person. I personally think there’s a lot of protection around the president. Why does he need lots of Secret Service agents? Why do you they belt and suspender everything with the president? Because he’s a very important person,” Slavitt replied.
Even CNN’s Jake Tapper is questioning whether Biden’s mask-wearing is “overly cautious” and sending the wrong message.
The president’s new advice about indoor masking has even appeared to jump ahead of the guidance from the CDC, which requires masks for the workplace. White House press secretary Jen Psaki has previously stated that Biden’s staff will continue to follow masking guidelines.
President Biden went from criticizing Republican officials for “Neanderthal thinking” by lifting mask mandates and insisting that wearing one is a “patriotic duty” to holding up his mask and telling vaccinated people they don’t have to wear one indoors or outdoors.
It’s hard to tell if this is just another photo-op to cover his confusing trail of guidance or a step in the right direction (for once).