President Biden was heavily criticized for ditching his mask at the Lincoln Memorial on Wednesday night just hours after signing an executive order requiring masks on federal property to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The newly-inaugurated president went maskless not only during a televised address to the American people but also as he stood at the foot of the memorial.
“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,” Biden wrote on Twitter on Wednesday night. “I will give my all to you,” Biden also said during his remarks.
Conservatives pounced as they viewed what they deemed by Biden as hypocrisy in a ‘masks for thee, but not for me’ moment: “Does Joe Biden’s new executive order mandating masks on federal property not apply to Joe Biden while he’s on federal property? Because here he is at the Lincoln Memorial with no mask just hours after signing it,” Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk scathingly wrote on Twitter.
“Biden signed a mask mandate requiring everyone who is on federal land to have to wear masks. Here is Biden tonight at the Lincoln Memorial, which is on federal land, not wearing a mask,” The Daily Wire’s Ryan Saavedra also noted on Twitter.
Biden was quick to sign an executive order mandating his “100-day masking challenge.” It was one of the first things he did after being inaugurated. The order requires masks and social distancing in all federal buildings, on all federal land by federal employees and contractors, and on airlines, trains, and transit systems traveling between states. The mandate doesn’t require all Americans to wear masks in public.
The order also cannot force state and local officials to comply. But the president is urging states to enact their own mandates. 37 states have already done so.
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.
— President Biden (@POTUS) January 21, 2021
“This executive action will direct the agencies to take action to require compliance with CDC guidance on mask-wearing and physical distancing in federal buildings, on federal lands, and by federal employees and contractors,” said Biden counselor Jeff Zients, who will be the administration’s Covid-19 response coordinator.
“And the president will call on governors, public health officials, mayors, business leaders, and others to implement masking, physical distancing, and other public measures to control COVID-19,” Zients stated.
Great example of the media deliberately covering for Joe Biden. Yesterday he signed an executive order that masks are now MANDATORY at all times on federal property, then he went to the Lincoln Memorial and entered it with NO mask on. Fake News, where are you? #Masks pic.twitter.com/cTuV4P6soo
— MARK SIMONE (@MarkSimoneNY) January 21, 2021
“This is not a political statement. This is about the health of our families, and economic recovery of our country.”
During his inaugural address, Biden warned that the nation’s “darkest and most deadly” coronavirus pandemic days could still be ahead.
The mask mandate is in addition to 10 other executive orders Biden will sign Thursday and Friday in the fight to eradicate the virus that has claimed the lives of over 400,000 Americans.
The new president has vowed to take far more aggressive measures to contain the virus than Trump did, starting with stringent adherence to public health guidance. He faces steep obstacles, with the virus actively spreading in most states, slow progress on the vaccine rollout, and political uncertainty over whether congressional Republicans will help him pass a $1.9 trillion economic relief and COVID response package.
“We need to ask average Americans to do their part,” said Jeff Zients, the White House official directing the national response. “Defeating the virus requires a coordinated nationwide effort.” Many Americans wonder if it also requires the president to wear a mask as he is telling so many others to do.
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