President Joe Biden was mocked for appearing to be the only world leader wearing a mask during a virtual climate summit on Friday even though he has received his full dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
According to photos of the event, Biden sat several feet apart from the few others seated at a table with him, all of whom were also wearing masks. It’s unclear if those aides were vaccinated.
“The entire world is laughing at us,” one Twitter user wrote in response.
The entire world is laughing at us
— 47 – 40 (@rmdecos) April 23, 2021
In a fact check, however, Snopes rated the claim that Biden was the only world leader wearing a mask as “false” and “misleading” because, citing a commonly published photo showing other world leaders maskless, the site pointed out that only 17 leaders are depicted and the virtual event was attended by 40 world leaders.
Also, official State Department photos tell a different story.
Biden was joined by so-called “Climate Czar” John Kerry, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, and National Economic Council Director Brian Deese; in some photos, they are masked while in others, only some attendees are masked.
(Credit: State Department)
In March, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has regularly altered its recommendations throughout the pandemic, advised that “indoor visits between fully vaccinated people who do not wear masks or physically distance from one another are likely low risk.” In addition, the agency said that fully vaccinated persons can socialize with unvaccinated people who are at low risk of catching the virus “without anyone wearing masks.”
“You can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart” if you’ve been fully vaccinated, the guidance states.
But at the same time, the CDC advises people to “still take steps to protect yourself and others in many situations, like wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces.”
Critics of the CDC say that continuing to mandate restrictions for vaccinated Americans or those who have had the disease are pointless since they are supposed to be immune.
Last month, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) ripped into chief Biden medical adviser and lead immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci for telling a “noble lie” about the virus and vaccine immunity in order to convince Americans to remain masked indefinitely.
“He is lying because he doesn’t think we are smart enough to make decisions,” Paul told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson. “His fear is if the vaccinating – if we quit wearing masks – the vaccinated will say: What the hell, I’m not wearing a mask either.”
“He lies to say the mask makes a difference when in reality he knows better,” Paul continued. “He’s wearing two masks for theater. He is immune and he knows he will not get it but he’s not being honest with the American public.
“There are no news reports or scientific studies saying after vaccination that there is some sort of widespread contagion that people vaccinated are spreading the disease. It is just not true,” the Kentucky Republican added. “What Fauci won’t tell you is he is telling you a noble lie.”
As for Biden’s virtual climate summit appearance, former 2016 Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos also noted that the president appeared to be the only world leader who didn’t have his country’s flag visible behind him.
“Besides Biden having been the only leader at today’s global forum with a mask on during a zoom call, he was also the only leader to not have his/her national flag situated behind them. Feckless as Obama just less rehearsed,” he wrote on Twitter.
Besides Biden having been the only leader at today’s global forum with a mask on during a zoom call, he was also the only leader to not have his/her national flag situated behind them. Feckless as Obama just less rehearsed.
— George Papadopoulos (@GeorgePapa19) April 24, 2021
Photos from the event indicate that, when seated, Biden does not appear to be shadowed by an American flag, though according to video posted by the State Department, he was flanked by American and president flags when he addressed attendees at the presidential podium.
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