Concerns about President Joe Biden being careless when it comes to COVID-19 protocols is one thing, but meeting the Pope without wearing a mask despite knowing his press secretary was in quarantine after testing positive for the virus is a whole other matter.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki released a statement late Sunday afternoon announcing that she had tested positive for COVID-19,
“On Wednesday, in coordination with senior leadership at the White House and the medical team, I made the decision not to travel on the foreign trip with the President due to a family emergency, which was members of my household testing positive for COVID-19,” Psaki said in the statement. “Since then, I have quarantined and tested negative (via PCR) for COVID on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. However, today, I tested positive for COVID.”
“While I have not had close contact in person with the President or senior members of the White House staff since Wednesday — and tested negative for four days after that last contact — I am disclosing today’s positive test out of an abundance of transparency,” she continued. “I last saw the President on Tuesday, when we sat outside more than six-feet apart, and wore masks.”
Psaki credited the vaccine for having experienced only mild symptoms and said she continues to work from home.
“I will plan to return to work in person at the conclusion of the ten-day quarantine following a negative rapid test, which is an additional White House requirement, beyond CDC guidance, taken out of an abundance of caution,” the president’s spokesperson said.
Sharing full statement and grateful I am vaccinated and for the amazing Biden team pic.twitter.com/QDokXo47dK
— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) October 31, 2021
Given the track record of this administration, Psaki going out of her way to emphasize that she was not in close contact with Biden only serves to raise more eyebrows.
On Thursday, the White House announced that Psaki would no longer join President Biden on his trip overseas “for at least the first few days,” citing a family emergency.
The president left for Europe the same day to attend the Group of 20 Summit in Rome, meeting with 84-year-old Pope Francis on Friday at the Vatican for nearly 90 minutes without wearing a mask, shaking the pontiff’s hand as well. He then traveled to Glasgow, Scotland to attend the COP26 climate summit. Biden, 78, received the Pfizer vaccine in December and January, and got a bon September 27.
Today, President Biden participated in meetings with His Holiness Pope Francis, Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin of the Holy See, President Sergio Mattarella of Italy, Prime Minister Mario Draghi of Italy, and President Emmanuel Macron of France. pic.twitter.com/Amrqk0tYPM
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) October 30, 2021
White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday morning that Biden tested negative for Covid-19 on Sunday.
An ITV News reporter noted in a tweet Sunday that Biden, “who is triple vaccinated, was tested and found to be negative on Saturday.”
After WH press secretary @PressSec confirms she has tested positive for COVID, WH says the President, who is triple vaccinated, was tested and found to be negative on Saturday.
— Emma Murphy (@emmamurphyitv) October 31, 2021
However, as Twitchy editor Greg Pollowitz noted in a tweet of his own, Biden met maskless with the Pope on Friday “despite knowing his press secretary was in quarantine for COVID-19.”
Joe Biden met maskless with the Pope despite knowing his press secretary was in quarantine for COVID-19 https://t.co/6BCNUUdTZH
— Greg Pollowitz (@GPollowitz) October 31, 2021
Last week, Fox News host Tucker Carlson did a segment highlighting the president coughing into his hand before pressing palms with officials whom he warmly greeted after a speech about his “Build Back Better” agenda.
After noting how much time Biden spends away from the White House in comparison to other presidents, Carlson jibed, “It’s possible there is a legitimate public health justification for keeping Joe Biden away from major American population centers. It’s possible Joe Biden’s aides understand that Biden is too dangerous to be in Washington. He could infect millions. Consider the tape we played a few days ago of Biden sauntering maskless through a crowded restaurant in Washington.”
Maskless Biden coughs into his hand and then goes around shaking other people’s hands.pic.twitter.com/hLRlPbaWRp
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) October 25, 2021
The reference was to a visit to a posh Washington D.C. eatery for “date night” where Biden was seen violating DC’s restrictive indoor mask mandate.
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