White House press secretary Jen Psaki dismissed criticism of President Joe Biden after he appeared maskless on federal property after signing an executive order mandating that masks be worn.
Psaki told Fox News’ new White House correspondent Peter Doocy — after addressing him by his father’s first name, Steve — that Biden had been celebrating and had taken numerous other precautions, arguing that there were “bigger issues” to address than whether or not he had a mask.
After getting the go-ahead from Psaki, Doocy asked why Biden and his family had not all kept their masks on while on federal property Wednesday despite the executive order he had signed just a short time earlier mandating masks.
“Why weren’t president Biden and all members of the Biden family masked at all times on federal lands last night if he signed an executive order that mandates masks on federal lands at all times?”
“At the inaugural —” Psaki began.
“At the Lincoln Memorial. Yes,” Doocy clarified.
“I think, Steve, he was celebrating an evening of a historic day in our country and certainly he signed the mask mandate because it’s a way to send a message to the American public about the importance of wearing masks. How it can save tens of thousands of lives,” Psaki replied, pivoting to give the same response that former President Donald Trump and members his administration had given on numerous occasions with regard to why they chose not to wear masks.
“We take a number of COVID precautions as you know here in terms of testing, social distancing, mask wearing, ourselves, as we do every single day. But I don’t know that I have more for you on it than that,” she said.
Doocy pushed back, using Biden’s own words about the power of leaders setting an example by doing the right thing themselves. “Was that a good example for people who were watching who might not pay attention normally?” he asked.
“Well, Steve,” Psaki replied, calling Doocy once more by his father’s first name. “I think the power of his example is also the message he sends by signing 25 executive orders including almost half of them related to COVID.”
Psaki then repeated her previous explanation about the additional precautions that everyone in the White House and the Biden family were taking with regard to COVID, adding, “I think we have bigger issues to worry about at this moment in time.”
Author: Virginia Kruta