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Psaki Dodges Whether Obama Setting Bad Example By Hosting Massive Birthday Party Amid Pandemic Surge

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TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 29: Joe Biden and Barack Obama watch the wheelchair basketball on day 7 of the Invictus Games Toronto 2017 on September 29, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. The Games use the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect for the Armed Forces.
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White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki dodged questions from Fox News reporter Peter Doocy on Monday about whether former President Barack Obama was sending the wrong message to Americans by hosting a large birthday party for himself while the White House is currently warning about a surge in COVID-19 cases from the Delta variant.

“Well, I would certainly refer you to the team who is working for my former boss to give you more specifics of what the protocols are in place,” Psaki initially responded. “But I would note first, that former President Obama has been a huge advocate of individuals getting vaccinated. What CDC has provided guidance on is for indoor settings in high or substantial high zones of COVID cases. This event, according to all the public reporting is outdoors, and in a moderate zone, but in addition, there is testing requirements and other steps they’re taking, which I’m sure they can outline for you in more detail.”

When asked by Doocy if the event could become a “super spreader” event and whether he was sending a bad message to the country, Psaki responded: “The guidance is about what steps people can take when they’re in public settings, indoor setting, specifically was the new guidance to keep themselves and other[s] safe. In terms of what protocols they are taking, I would refer you to them, and I’m sure they can give you more details.”

“We certainly advise everyone to follow public health guidelines, which I know the former president who is a huge advocate of getting vaccinated, of following the guidance of public health experts, would certainly advocate for himself as well,” she added.

WATCH:

TRANSCRIPT:

PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS REPORTER: Is President Obama setting the wrong example about how serious COVID-19 is by hosting a big birthday party with hundreds of people this week?

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, I would certainly refer you to the team who is working for my former boss to give you more specifics of what the protocols are in place. But I would note first, that former President Obama has been a huge advocate of individuals getting vaccinated. What CDC has provided guidance on is for indoor settings in high or substantial high zones of COVID cases. This event, according to all the public reporting is outdoors, and in a moderate zone, but in addition, there is testing requirements and other steps they’re taking, which I’m sure they can outline for you in more detail.

DOOCY: But is there any concern just because as you’ve said here, and you’ve had people saying over the last couple of days, vaccinated people can still spread this delta variant around. So is there concern that this President Obama birthday party might become a super spreader of that?

PSAKI: Well, I think Peter, the guidance is about what steps people can take when they’re in public settings, indoor setting, specifically was the new guidance to keep themselves and other safe. In terms of what protocols they are taking, I would refer you to them, and I’m sure they can give you more details.

DOOCY: So people who are watching this at home and they see well, President Obama can have a party with several hundred people, should they think that it is okay for them to have a party with several hundred people now?

PSAKI: Well, we certainly advise everyone to follow public health guidelines, which I know the former president who is a huge advocate of getting vaccinated, of following the guidance of public health experts, would certainly advocate for himself as well.

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