White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki brushed off criticism of President Biden and his family being spotted without face masks at the Lincoln Memorial on Wednesday, saying the new administration has “bigger issues to worry about.”
During Thursday’s press briefing, Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy asked Ms. Psaki why the Bidens removed their masks Wednesday night during the post-inauguration celebration when Mr. Biden signed an executive order just hours earlier mandating masks on federal property.
“Why weren’t President Biden and all members of the Biden family masked at all times on federal lands last night if he signed an executive order that mandates masks on federal lands at all times?” Mr. Doocy asked.
“I think, Steve, he was celebrating an evening — a historic day in our country,” Ms. Psaki responded, mistaking Mr. Doocy for his father, who also works for Fox News.
“And certainly he signed the mask mandate because it’s a way to send a message to the American public about the importance of wearing masks, how it can save tens of thousands of lives,” Ms. Psaki continued. “We take a number of COVID precautions, as you know, here in terms of testing, social distancing, mask wearing ourselves, as we do every single day. But, I don’t know that I have more for you on it than that.”
“But,” Mr. Doocy replied, “as Joe Biden often talks about, it is not just important the example of power but the power of our example, was that a good example for people who are watching who might not pay attention normally?”
“Well, Steve,” Ms. Psaki, said, repeating the flub, “I think the power of his example is also the message he sends by signing 25 executive orders, including almost half of them related to COVID, the requirements that we’re all under every single day here to ensure that we’re sending that message to the public. Yesterday was a historic moment in our history. He was inaugurated as president of the United States. He was surrounded by his family. We take a number of precautions, but I think we have bigger issues to worry about at this moment in time.”
During Wednesday night’s “Celebrating America” concert following Mr. Biden’s inauguration, the new president was seen without a mask at the Lincoln Memorial while listening to cellist Yo-Yo Ma perform “Amazing Grace.” Reporter Timothy Burke said Mr. Biden wore his mask both before and after the performance.
Mr. Biden’s daughter Ashley and his older grandchildren were also spotted posing for a photo without masks. 
Video of the exchange here. pic.twitter.com/N6juPyMfQg
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) January 21, 2021
Here’s the whole thing. I confirmed that there was a PA speaker in there with the program feed, so Biden was indeed hearing Yo-Yo Ma’s performance as it was being aired.
He wore his mask immediately prior to this and put it back on as soon as he finished his TV hit. pic.twitter.com/H9yOT5QXaV
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) January 21, 2021
The older Biden grandkids, plus Ashley Biden in a chic tux, take pictures at the Lincoln Memorial. pic.twitter.com/P0C57DooyX
— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) January 21, 2021
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