Biden, other politicians reprimanded for loopholes in mask protocols

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden and New York Governor Kathy Hochul are the latest Democratic leaders to be criticized for not wearing masks in indoor public spaces.

Their maskless social gatherings follow events involving former President Barack Obama, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, and California Governor Gavin Newsom, among others.

Whether Democrats’ decisions not to wear masks violate COVID protocols or not, their strong advocacy for mask requirements – like other members of their party calling for compliance – has raised questions about find out if they live by a different set of rules.

Hochul, who last month expanded a school mask mandate in New York City to apply to children as young as 2 in daycares, was pictured recently in a crowded bar without a mask and taking root on the Bills of Buffalo in a televised game against the Tennessee Titans. This week, she appeared without a mask again, tweeting a group photo with stars from the Broadway stage, eliciting angry reactions from parents.

Meanwhile, Biden and First Lady Jill Biden were filmed walking through an upscale Washington restaurant, Fiola Mare, on October 16 with masks in their hands but not on their faces.

The three incidents sparked an uproar on social media.

In the Bidens’ case, the first couple were in apparent violation of District of Columbia regulations regarding the use of masks indoors. DC regulations require everyone, even fully vaccinated people, to wear masks in indoor public places like a restaurant when not eating or drinking.

Psaki responds

Asked about the president’s failure at a recent White House briefing, spokeswoman Jen Psaki admitted that “there are times when we don’t all put on masks as quickly as we should.”

This year, Biden criticized unmasked Republican lawmakers, saying “It’s time to grow up.” This is part of a larger political standoff between blue states like New York and California and red states like Florida and Texas over federal immunization mandates and mask guidelines and whether they constitute a violation of individual rights.

Biden has singled out Republican governors in those states for not following health experts on vaccinations and for not needing masks.

Despite the misstep, Psaki said it shouldn’t distract from the constant drumbeat of the president’s message.

“I don’t think we should lose – miss – lose the forest through the trees here as our goal here is to get more people vaccinated,” she said.

Biden has been vaccinated and wears masks during White House events.

Hochul apparently did not violate his state’s regulations, which recommend but do not require vaccinated people to wear masks indoors. A request for comment from the governor’s office was not returned.

Other Democratic officials have flouted mask mandates. Leaked photos of Obama’s 60th birthday party in August at Martha’s Vineyard showed the former president and guests partying amid the COVID delta wave without masks. In May, Whitmer violated her own social distancing rules by dining at a restaurant. She later apologized.

Last year, Newsom attended a birthday party for one of his advisers at an exclusive California restaurant, against state guidelines on large gatherings. And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited a barbershop in San Francisco last year without a mask, in violation of city rules.

Guiding masks has become a political lightning rod. Former President Donald Trump refused to wear a mask despite advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when the pandemic first swept the country. Trump has also repeatedly mocked Biden for wearing a mask during the presidential campaign.

Many Republicans continued to eschew masks and fight against mask mandates. And some have used what they call the hypocrisy of the Democrats to make their point. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, used Obama’s birthday party to highlight what he called a double standard.

“Just to make it clear,” Jordan tweeted. “# COVID19 is spreading to: – church – school – Trump rallies – motorcycle rallies. It does not spread during: – “Peaceful” protests – The southern border – Democratic wedding receptions – Barber shops in San Francisco – Governor Newsom’s dinner – President Obama’s birthday party.

Birx testimonial

Dr Deborah Birx, the former White House coronavirus response coordinator under Trump, told a small House subcommittee this month that the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic was slow and caused deaths.

Birx told the committee in testimony released Tuesday that more than 130,000 lives could have been saved if the Trump administration had aggressively followed proposals from public health experts, including advice on masks.

“I think if we had fully implemented the mask warrants, reducing indoor dining, making friends and family aware of the risk of congregating in private homes and we had increased the costs. tests, we probably could have reduced the number of deaths by 30%. at 40 percent less range, ”said Birx.

His testimony was released by the subcommittee headed by Rep. James Clyburn, DS.C., who also serves as Democratic House Whip.

The Biden mask flap at the Washington restaurant comes as jurisdictions in the nation’s capital relax their mask guidelines due to high vaccination rates.

Montgomery County, Md., One of the largest suburbs outside Washington, announced Wednesday that a mask warrant for indoor locations and restaurants would no longer be enforced thanks to high vaccination rates in the jurisdiction , which is home to a large number of federal workers and contractors.

Contact Gary Martin at [email protected] Follow @garymartindc on Twitter.

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