White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki downplayed President Joe Biden violating his own mask mandate on his first day in office when he was caught repeatedly not wearing a mask Wednesday night while visiting the Lincoln Memorial.
The issue was brought up at Thursday’s press conference after outlets, including The Daily Wire, reported on Wednesday evening that Biden and his family were repeatedly seen at the Lincoln Memorial not wearing masks.
Psaki was asked the question by Fox News reporter Peter Doocy, and she responded by repeatedly referring to him by the wrong name.
The two had the following exchange:
DOOCY: “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?”
PSAKI: “At the inaugural–“
DOOCY: “At the Lincoln Memorial, yes.”
PSAKI: “I, I think Steve, he was celebrating an evening uh, uh, 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, uh, wearing masks, how it can save tens of thousands of lives. 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.”
DOOCY: “But [as] Joe Biden often talks about, it is not just important the example of power, but the power of our example. Was that a good example for people who were watching [that] might not being paying attention normally?”
PSAKI: “Well Steve, 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, uh, the requirements that we’re all under every single day here to ensure we’re sending that message to the public. Yesterday was a historic moment in our history, he was inaugurated as President of the United States. He was surrounded by his family. We take a number of precautions, but I think we have bigger issues to worry [about].”
Why wasn't @JoeBiden wearing a mask last night after signing a mask mandate?
Press Secretary Jen Psaki: "He was celebrating an evening of a historic day…He was surrounded by his family…We have bigger issues to worry about."
Biden wants you to follow the rules that he won't. pic.twitter.com/P5xy0CireG
— John Cooper (@thejcoop) January 21, 2021
Biden did not follow his own mask order despite the fact that he repeatedly attacked President Donald Trump while on the campaign trail for not wearing a mask and had even tweeted that evening: “Wearing masks isn’t a partisan issue — it’s a patriotic act that can save countless lives. That’s why I signed an executive order today issuing a mask mandate on federal property. It’s time to mask up, America.”
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) January 21, 2021
Other photos showed Biden not wearing a mask while also standing just a few feet away from reporters as he answered their questions and showed his family also not wearing masks at certain points. Other photos showed that Biden eventually put a mask on, presumably at the end of his visit to the memorial.
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) January 21, 2021