President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrived Friday to observe Valentine’s Day on the White House lawn, where the president gave his coffee to a maskless reporter.
The president and first lady toured the display of giant hearts spread across the lawn as they walked their dogs while holding their coffee and wearing masks.
While gazing at the first lady’s display of giant hearts placed across the lawn, Kimberly Halkett, a White House correspondent for Al Jazeera English, asked the president, “Next time bring us coffee, too?” The maskless reporter also insisted she would bring donuts the next time if he agreed, to which Biden said he did not know there would be reporters gathered at the White House that early in the morning:
Drinking coffee with the president, @AJEnglish’s Kimberly Halkett @KimberlyHalkett bumped into US president @JoeBiden who offered her a cup of coffee. For more tune in, our 15:00 GMT is about to start pic.twitter.com/QotSj6YZX5
— Ali Hashem علي هاشم (@alihashem_tv) February 12, 2021
“I didn’t have a taste. I didn’t even have a taste,” Biden said. “Here. C’mon. I promise you. … I give you my word. I didn’t have anything.”
“I’m going to get in trouble,” the reporter replied, standing on federal property. “I don’t even have my mask.”
Halkett commented about her interaction with the president in a tweet, saying she now knows Biden “prefers his coffee plain, with no cream or sugar”:
— Kimberly Halkett (@KimberlyHalkett) February 12, 2021
President Biden signed an executive order after he was inaugurated that mandated all individuals in the United States wear masks on federal property, a mandate which he himself has broken numerous times. In addition, the president called for social distancing on federal property.
President Biden’s executive order requires all federal agencies to comply with the Centers for Disease Control on guidance for mask-wearing and social distancing on federal lands. It also directs all federal employees and contractors to wear masks.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki defended Biden’s maskless appearance at the Lincoln Memorial following the inauguration, telling reporters that “we have bigger issues to worry about at this moment in time.”