On Tuesday, Fox News’ Bill Hemmer grilled White House press secretary Jen Psaki on the White House recently ending its mask mandate just in time for President Biden’s State of the Union address.
Washington, D.C., the White House, and the U.S. Capitol all ended their mask mandates in the run up to Biden’s address.
The exchange took place during an interview on Hemmer’s program “America’s Newsroom.”
Hemmer to Psaki: ‘What changed in the science yesterday, Monday, as opposed to a week ago Monday?’
Hemmer noted to Psaki that Washington, D.C., ended mask mandates early Tuesday morning and the White House has also stopped mandating masks.
Hemmer asked the press secretary, “Jen, there are no masks in Washington, D.C. as of midnight last night. What changed in the science yesterday, Monday, as opposed to a week ago Monday?”
Psaki replied, “It wasn’t actually yesterday, Bill. What the CDC did is they put out guidance last Friday that identified recommendations depending on what the hospitalization rates are in your part of the country.”
“We’re currently in a part of the country in Washington, D.C., where it’s very low, the rates,” she continued. “So we’re not, the recommendation is not to wear masks. We aren’t wearing masks at the White House, the President’s not going to wear a mask tonight.”
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On February 14, Washington, DC announced that it would end both the vaccine mandate and mask mandate.
On Saturday, it was reported that the Capitol was dropping it’s mask mandate. Previously, the rules had been so stringent that refusers like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene had racked up nearly $100,000 in fines.
The White House announced they were dropping their mask mandate starting on the day of Biden’s address.
#SOTU: The Washington DC indoor mask mandate will expire tonight, and they will be optional at the State of the Union tomorrow. Jen Psaki says the timing is coincidental, as the President doesn’t have the power to make DC a “green zone” for mask wearing. pic.twitter.com/HarkDGxzcZ
— Forbes (@Forbes) February 28, 2022
The CDC Changed Its Guidelines On Friday
“I committed that I would follow the science,” Biden told NBC News, adding that the rollback of mask mandates in states and cities across the country was likely “premature.”
“And the science as put forward by the CDC and the federal people and I think it’s probably premature but it’s a tough call,” the president said.
As of Friday, the CDC updated its guidelines that now show that mask-wearing indoors is no longer recommended for the public at large.