Joe Biden Says No Mask Needed for Vaccinated People Indoors – Hours After Masked Meeting with Congressional Leaders

President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting with congressional leaders in the Oval Office of the White House, Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Washington. From left, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., Vice President Kamala, Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., …
AP Photo/Evan Vucci

President Joe Biden said people vaccinated for the coronavirus no longer had to wear masks indoors with other vaccinated people — hours after wearing a mask during a meeting with vaccinated congressional leaders at the White House.

Holding up his mask, Biden said, “If you’re vaccinated, you don’t have to wear this outside, around people unless there’s really large groups, and you don’t have to wear it inside if you’re with people that have also been vaccinated.”

The president spoke about masks during a speech at the White House on the ongoing fight against the coronavirus. He arrived at the event wearing a mask but took it off to begin speaking and walked away from the podium without it.

Earlier Wednesday, Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy at the White House. All individuals were presumably vaccinated but wearing masks in front of reporters when the meeting started.

The president’s advice about indoor masking appears to have jumped ahead of the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, which stated masks should still be required for the workplace.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki previously said Biden’s staff in the building would continue following masking advice related to workplaces until CDC guidelines relaxed.

“We will still, in here, until there’s different guidelines, abide by the recommendations of the CDC as it relates to workplaces,” she said in April.

The president continues insisting wearing a mask is a “patriotic duty” to fellow Americans, and at one point lectured Republican officials for “Neanderthal thinking” by lifting mask mandates in their states.


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