Bill Hemmer, co-host of “America’s Newsroom”, pressed Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, Thursday in an extended interview. He asked why the White House had dropped its indoor mask mandate before President Biden’s State of the Union address.
“What has changed in science yesterday, Monday, compared to Monday a week earlier?” asked Hemmer.
Bill, it wasn’t yesterday. Psaki replied that the CDC had issued guidance last Friday, which provided recommendations based on hospitalization rates in each region.
Psaki referred to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which significantly eased its recommendations for mask-wearing across the country. The new guidance states that masks are not necessary for Americans living in areas at “low” or medium risk of COVID-19 transmission. This means that more than 70% of Americans are now able to go maskless. Washington D.C. was the last place where Mayor Muriel Bowser had issued an indoor mask mandate Tuesday.
“The White House does not recommend wearing masks. The president is not expected to wear a mask tonight. It’s different for each country,” Psaki said.
Critics have criticized the Biden administration as well as the Democrat-led States, arguing that loosening COVID regulations was more political than scientific.
The White House’s decision came less than 24 hours ahead of Biden’s State of the Union speech. Psaki was then asked how the president could convince Americans that he helped improve their lives in the past year.
Only 18% of Fox News’ February poll respondents said Biden’s actions regarding inflation were helping the country. 44% of respondents said that his actions were hurtful.
Psaki stated that the State of the Union was a “huge chance” for Biden. He will spend much of his time talking about the conflict in Ukraine and his efforts to “lead the way” in resisting autocratic leaders as well as the “horrific” actions of Vladimir Putin.
Psaki said that people will also hear from him for a large portion of the speech. He spoke about his plan, the progress we’ve made, and his commitment to addressing price, cost, and inflation.
Dana Perino, Hemmer, and Psaki discussed the Biden administration’s response in Ukraine to the crisis as it relates to energy. They also asked Psaki what moves the White House is still considering in light of the Russian attack.