White House press secretary Jen Psaki claims the Biden administration only makes recommendations when it comes to discussing the end of school mask mandates.
At Monday’s White House press briefing, Psaki was confronted with the news that Governors Ned Lamont (D-CT) and Phil Murphy (D-NJ) were joining other states in ending their school mask mandates.
In a video clip of the exchange, a reporter can be heard asking, “Back on the mask mandate question in New Jersey and other states: The CDC is still recommending universal masking in schools…”
Before the question was finished, Psaki cut in, “That’s correct. And that still remains our recommendation.”
Jen Psaki says it “remains” Biden’s recommendation that schools should force 2-year-olds to wear masks. pic.twitter.com/xfxqE8k1sk
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) February 7, 2022
When asked about her opinion on Murphy’s decision, Psaki pivoted to the CDC.
“Again our advice to every school district is to abide by public health guidelines. It continues to be, at this point, that the CDC is advising that masks can delay, reduce transmission. There are also a number of other mitigation measures that we’ve put in place, but that continues to be CDC guidance,” she said.
“It’s always been up to local school districts to determine how they implement,” she added.
Later, Psaki reiterated, “Well, it’s always been up to school districts. That’s always been our point of view and always been our policy from here.”
However, just last August while giving an address related to COVID-19 boosters shots, President Biden outlined his direction for the secretary of education to take action against governors who were trying to do away with school mask mandates.
“If you aren’t going to fight COVID-19 at least get out of the way,” Biden said before explaining that he would use federal funds to pay educators for implementing forced masking policies in violation of state laws where their salaries would be removed for their actions.
After a National Governor’s Association meeting at the White House on January 31, some governors seemed unclear as to who has the ultimate authority in their state.
After the meeting in regards to urges to “move away from the pandemic,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR) told CNN, “There’s a number of areas that we have full agreement on, and that is one.” He pointed out that the governors asked Biden “to help give us clear guidelines on how we can return to a greater state of normality.”
At the meeting, Biden remarked that “It’s all about making sure we have the same standards we’re applying across the board.”
This is, again, in contrast to the statement by Psaki that it was up to the local level to make their own decisions.
Despite Psaki’s softer tone on student mask mandates, plenty of people blasted the White House for recommending that kids mask-up at all:
— Zero Covid or Bust (@ksanton63) February 7, 2022
Not following the science there I see. Just feelings.
— Anubis (@AnubisG1984) February 7, 2022
My children have not wore a mask a single day in this craziness. No Covid! Let them breathe!
— Stephanie Vinson (@pinkieboxer) February 8, 2022
Also, if you don’t have kids you really can’t comment to the parents. You have no idea what you are talking about. Period. Have a nice day. #masksaredumb.
— Joel Shedd (@jpshedd) February 8, 2022
Not a single reporter challenged the why of this. Incredible
— Mark (@Vlad_zinhaler) February 7, 2022
And perhaps the best response of all:
Where’s your mask, Jen?
— Joe Albanese (@jalbanese27) February 7, 2022
Many on Twitter sounded off on the administration’s stance, including Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH).
Why don’t Democrat politicians have to wear a mask, but your children do?
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) February 7, 2022
— sandra (@sandra51361809) February 7, 2022
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