Senior White House Covid Advisor Says Biden Wears Mask Inside ‘Because He’s A Very Important Person’

The vaccinated president wore a mask Wednesday during an Oval Office meeting with vaccinated congressional leaders.
WILMINGTON, DE - AUGUST 13: Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee former Vice President Joe Biden puts his mask back on after delivering remarks following a coronavirus briefing with health experts at the Hotel DuPont on August 13, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. Harris is the first Black woman and first person of Indian descent to be a presumptive nominee on a presidential ticket by a major party in U.S. history.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

White House Senior Advisor for Coronavirus Response Andy Slavitt on Thursday answered a question that has dogged the Biden administration lately, saying President Biden wears a mask indoors “because he’s a very important person.”

Slavitt was asked by CNN’s John Berman why Biden wore a face mask during an Oval Office meeting Wednesday with congressional leaders, all of whom are vaccinated against the coronavirus. In a White House video of the meeting, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can be seen wearing a face mask as well.

“Part of getting people vaccinated is to tell them that their lives will be different, changed, better, if they get the vaccine,” Berman remarked during Slavitt’s appearance on “New Day,” CNN’s morning program. “So why were they all wearing masks? And what message does that send?”

Berman responded that he thinks vaccinated people are “starting to get a little bit impatient” in wondering what they can do safely, such as taking masks off indoors.

“I think the CDC is getting there step by step,” he said. “So right now you can do pretty much everything outdoors without a mask, you can do everything indoors if you’re around vaccinated people without a mask.”

“So why were they all wearing masks in there yesterday?” Berman interjected.

“I’m not too sure that the president is the average person. I personally think there’s a lot of protections around the president,” Slavitt replied. “Why does he need lots of Secret Service agents? Why do you they belt and suspender everything with the president? Because he’s a very important person.”

The Republican National Committee quickly mocked Slavitt’s response, tweeting the CNN clip along with a caption saying Biden “violates CDC guidance” in always wearing a mask “because he’s ‘very important,'” according to Slavitt.

On Sunday, CNN’s Jake Tapper quizzed Jeff Zients, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, on the same issue, asking whether Biden’s mask-wearing is “overly cautious” and sending the wrong message.

Zients responded that Biden is going to “continue to follow the CDC guidance.”

Senior Biden advisor Anita Dunn gave Tapper a similar answer earlier this month, saying the White House does “take some extra precautions” for Biden because he is the president.

Biden himself was asked by a reporter on Friday about his preference to wear a face mask even around other vaccinated people.

“Because when we’re inside it’s still good policy to wear the mask,” Biden responded.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) current guidance says that a vaccinated person need not wear a face mask in small groups of people who are also vaccinated.

The U.S. has administered about 2.2 million coronavirus vaccine shots per day over the past week, according to federal data. Daily shots have ticked up over the last several days after declining for weeks.

Meanwhile, the number of daily new coronavirus cases across the country has dropped to below 40,000 per day this week, the lowest since September.

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