PHOTO: American Airlines Announces Investigation into John Kerry’s Violation of Federal Mask Mandate

Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry speaks during a press briefing at the White House on January 27, 2021 in Washington, DC. Kerry and McCarthy took questions from reporters about the Biden administration's plans and agenda on climate change issues. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

John Kerry, President Biden’s administration’s climate envoy, appeared to forgo a mask while flying first class on an American Airlines flight from Boston to Washington, violating the federal mask mandate, prompting an investigation from the airline.

The purported violation of the federal mask mandate occurred on Wednesday as Kerry departed Boston. A photo, first published by The Tennessee Star, shows the climate czar appearing to read a book, his face completely exposed. According to the outlet, Kerry was not eating or drinking:

American Airlines has since indicated it is investigating the matter:

A February 1 release from American Airlines outlines the airline’s commitment to abiding by Biden’s executive order as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines.

“Our mask requirement has been and will continue to be a critical component of our comprehensive effort to protect the health and well-being of our customers and team members during the pandemic,” Chief Operating Officer at American David Seymour said in a statement.

“This federal mandate will provide additional support to our crew members who are working diligently to enforce our policy and further reinforce the safety of air travel during COVID-19,” he said.

Per the release, those who fail to adhere to the airline’s policy and the government directive “may be denied boarding, removed from the aircraft or subject to penalties under federal law, in addition to being barred from future travel with American.”

It is not clear if Kerry will face such penalties for his apparent infraction.

Biden issued an executive order on January 21 aimed to promote “COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel.” The order requires individuals to wear masks for “certain modes of domestic travel,” applying to airports, commercial aircrafts, trains, public maritime vessels, and intercity buses.

“This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations,” the order reads.

The CDC also issued an order “requiring the wearing of masks by travelers to prevent spread of the virus that causes COVID-19,” which went into effect February 2:

This Order must be followed by all passengers on public conveyances (e.g., airplanes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis, ride-shares) traveling into, within, or out of the United States as well as conveyance operators (e.g., crew, drivers, conductors, and other workers involved in the operation of conveyances) and operators of transportation hubs ( e.g., airports, bus or ferry terminals, train or subway stations, seaports, ports of entry) or any other area that provides transportation in the United States.

People must wear masks that cover both the mouth and nose when awaiting, boarding, traveling on, or disembarking public conveyances. People must also wear masks when entering or on the premises of a transportation hub in the United States.

This is far from the first time Kerry has found himself in the midst of accusations of blatant hypocritical behavior, as he frequently travels via private jet despite his self-declared commitment to combating climate change.


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