Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy asked Press Secretary Jen Psaki why a scheduled event to celebrate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation shouldn’t be considered a “super-spreader event.”
During Thursday’s White House press briefing, Doocy noted the fact that a similar event held to celebrate Justice Amy Coney Barrett — after which a number of attendees tested positive for COVID-19 — had been called a super-spreader event by media outlets and Democrats alike. Considering the number of prominent Democrats and members of President Joe Biden’s administration who had tested positive for the virus in recent days, Doocy suggested that the situation was comparable.
Doocy asks Psaki if the administration is concerned the event to commemorate Ketanji Brown Jackson's confirmation will be a superspreader event like the Amy Coney Barrett one was. Psaki reminds him vaccines were not available back then. pic.twitter.com/2qLH7HzCql
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“When the last president wanted to host a big event for a Supreme Court nominee here at the White House, some folks got COVID and then-former Vice President Biden called it a ‘super-spreader event,’” Doocy said, asking, “So, is there any risk that this event tomorrow for a Biden Supreme Court — now, Justice, is gonna be a super-spreader event?”
“Well, one, at that point in time, vaccines weren’t available, people were not vaccinated. It certainly puts us in a different space. This event is also going to be outside tomorrow,” Psaki replied.
Doocy also asked about President Joe Biden’s recent contact with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who tested positive for COVID-19 after attending several recent events with the president.
Doocy: "How can you guys say that President Biden was not a close contact with speaker Pelosi when there's video of the speaker kissing him?"
Psaki: The CDC's "definition of it is 15 minutes of contact within a set period of time, within six feet. It did not meet that bar." pic.twitter.com/T7U8kE5EoR
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“How can you guys say that President Biden was not a ‘close contact’ with Speaker Pelosi when there’s video of the speaker kissing him?” Doocy asked.
Psaki’s response was to explain the technical definition of “close contact” as stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and claim that Biden’s contact with Pelosi did not meet that standard.
“Well, Peter, the way that it is defined is by the Centers for Disease Control, the CDC, and their definition of it is 15 minutes of contact within a set period of time, within six feet. It did not meet that bar,” Psaki said. “It does not mean that no one will get COVID around the world who does not have a ‘close contact,’ it just means we are defining for all of you whether the president and their interaction met the definition of the CDC of a ‘close contact.’”
Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, announced the news via Twitter on Thursday morning, saying, “After testing negative this week, Speaker Pelosi received a positive test result for COVID-19 and is currently asymptomatic. The Speaker is fully vaccinated and boosted, and is thankful for the robust protection the vaccine has provided. The Speaker will quarantine consistent with CDC guidance, and encourages everyone to get vaccinated, boosted and test regularly.”
Pelosi was scheduled to lead a Congressional delegation to Asia, but that has been postponed.