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White House deflects after Biden caught not wearing mask despite wife’s COVID illness

 September 7, 2023

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre deflected queries on Wednesday concerning President Joe Biden's apparent violations of the administration's own COVID-19 guidelines during a recent Medal of Honor event, as Fox News reported.

The White House Responds to Mask Controversy

The White House had previously stated that President Biden would adhere to CDC guidelines, especially after first lady Jill Biden tested positive for the coronavirus.

These guidelines advise those exposed to COVID-19 to wear a mask indoors and when in the presence of others.

However, during a ceremony in the White House East Room honoring retired Army Capt. Larry Taylor on Tuesday, Biden took off his mask to speak and did not put it back on.

When questioned by the media, Jean-Pierre conceded that the president was without his mask. She elaborated that Biden exited the event early to minimize potential interactions with attendees.

She stated, "The president took off his mask, as I said he would, to deliver incredibly powerful remarks about this captain, Capt. Taylor, and what he did in service to our nation.

"And for a brief time afterwards, he also didn't have his mask on," the secretary added.

Social Media Backlash and Official Response

Several online commentators expressed dismay after the president seemed to hurriedly leave the event, which some perceived as an affront to Taylor, the distinguished recipient of our nation's highest military accolade.

However, the official stance from the White House was that Biden's swift exit had been previously arranged.

Jean-Pierre iterated to the press, "He left as planned, as it was planned."

She said, "He left when there was a pause in the program in order to minimize his close contact with attendees who are about to participate in a reception."

Jean-Pierre stressed the importance of understanding the broader situation surrounding Biden's decision to remove his mask and his early exit from the ceremony.

She referenced Biden's recent negative COVID tests and noted that the situation with the virus has evolved, given that the pandemic has officially concluded.

Further elaborating on the scenario, Jean-Pierre emphasized the need to understand the entire context of the event. She explained that the decision was made for the president to exit during a break in the event to limit his time in the room.

Additionally, she noted that before the ceremony began, the president had a significant interaction with Capt. Taylor and his family, during which all parties wore masks to ensure a meaningful and safe exchange.

CDC's Guidance Under the Microscope

On whether the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should re-evaluate their existing guidelines on COVID-19, Jean-Pierre deferred to the organization's expertise.

She responded, "That is something the CDC decides on. They are the experts."