After First Lady Melania Trump read a Christmas book to children at the Children’s National Hospital, CNN falsely claimed that she broke policy by removing her mask when speaking.
On Tuesday in Washington, DC, Mrs. Trump visited a handful of children to read Oliver the Ornament Meets Marley and Joan and Abbey, which was broadcast across the hospital so that children in their rooms could tune in.
Mrs. Trump, who already had and recovered from the Chinese coronavirus, could be seen entering the room wearing a black mask before sitting down, more than 12 feet away from children. Then, following the hospital’s guidelines, Mrs. Trump removed her mask to read to the children.
“Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy new year,” Mrs. Trump told the children after finishing reading the book. Afterward, Mrs. Trump played holiday bingo with the children.
Later, CNN’s Betsy Klein ran a headline and story in which she claims that “Melania Trump breaks children’s hospital rules by taking her mask off to read to patients” though the hospital’s guidelines make clear that public speakers are permitted to remove their mask when delivering a speech.
“First lady Melania Trump broke stated mask policy at Children’s National Hospital Tuesday when she removed her mask to read a holiday book to children,” CNN claims.
In addition, CNN reporter Kate Bennett commented on Twitter that “the first lady took off her mask at a children’s hospital” without providing context as to the social distancing practices, hospital protocols, or mask policy for public speakers.
The first lady took off her mask at a children’s hospital. That’s it. That’s the tweet.
— Kate Bennett (@KateBennett_DC) December 16, 2020
The Children’s National Hospital released a statement refuting the story. Mrs. Trump’s spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham called the story “another false attack” with “an inaccurate headline that willfully contradicts the statement made by the hospital.”
Yet another false attack on @FLOTUS by @CNN. Running an inaccurate headline that willfully contradicts the statement made by the hospital. Despite our request, they refuse to update their headline. See statement below: https://t.co/HoRz1emhEc pic.twitter.com/T9hOGaDIOl
— Stephanie Grisham (@StephGrisham45) December 16, 2020
“The First Lady did follow our mask protocols for public speakers, which is based on DC Health guidance, which states that wearing a mask is not required when a person is giving a speech for broadcast or an audience, provided no one is within six feet of the speaker,” the Children’s National Hospital statement reads.
“In the case of today’s visit, which was broadcast to our patient rooms, when the First Lady did remove her mask while she read a story, she was more than 12-feet away from others in our four-story atrium,” the statement continues.
“This space was closed off from hospital visitors and the small group of people in that space were all wearing masks,” the statement reads. “For the remainder of the First Lady’s visit, she wore a mask and did not visit any patient care areas.”
CNN has not updated its headline or story as of this publication despite requests by the East Wing.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.