We’ve written ad nauseam about the mixed signals coming from the White House on the coronavirus vaccine, including the instance last week when VP Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff kissed each other goodbye while wearing masks outdoors, and just a few days before that when President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden left the Georgia home of Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter wearing masks outside.
It was beyond ridiculous, especially considering both instances happened after the CDC had updated their guidelines to state that you don’t need to wear a mask outdoors “except in certain crowded settings and venues” (like concerts, etc.) as long as you’ve been fully vaccinated.
Unfortunately, the conflicting messaging has only gotten worse this week – and so much so that even the most pro-Biden news outlets are getting louder about calling him out.
Case in point, Washington Post reporter Dave Weigel, who highlighted the messaging woes of the Biden administration yesterday by giving a quick play by play of how Biden contradicted his own message about masks twice in one day:
Biden just now, on masks: "You don't have to wear it inside if you're with people that have also been vaccinated."
This a few hours after he met with vaccinated congressional leaders, all wearing masks in the Oval. I get "leaders eat last" but this is incoherent.
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) May 12, 2021
Weigel wasn’t the only journalist this week highlighting the messaging inconsistencies coming from the Biden team.
This morning, CNN “New Day” co-host John Berman had White House senior COVID response advisor Andy Slavitt on to talk about the mixed messages, and specifically asked him why Biden – who is fully vaccinated – was wearing a mask indoors Wednesday during a meeting with House and Senate leaders, all of who have been fully vaccinated but who were also wearing masks. Slavitt proceeded to wreck the clown car with this ridiculous response:
“Well, look, I think people who have been vaccinated are starting to get a little bit impatient with what can I do? Can I go indoors? Can I take masks off, et cetera? And I think the CDC is getting there step by step. So right now you can do pretty much everything outdoors without a mask, everything indoors if you’re around vaccinated people without a mask,” Slavitt said.
“So why were they all wearing masks?” Berman asked.
“I’m not sure the president is the average person. I personally think there’s a lot of protections around the president. Why does he need lots of Secret Service agents?” Slavitt said.
“Why do they belt and suspender everything with the president? Because he’s a very important person, and you shouldn’t take your mark just by what you see in the Oval Office. I think most people if you are indoors around other people vaccinated, CDC says it’s okay, and I think you should listen to the CDC on that,” he said.
So I guess this means because Biden is an important man or something that he’ll be double masking for the rest of his presidency as a precautionary measure?
W.H.’s @ASlavitt unable to explain why administration officials continue wearing masks despite being vaccinated.
“I’m not sure the president is the average person … There’s a lot of protection around the president — why does he need lots of Secret Service agents?" pic.twitter.com/tb7ZB4PcZB
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) May 13, 2021
This was on top of another CNN interview Slavitt did a couple of weeks ago where he was asked four times by anchor Chris Cuomo about why the CDC’s/White House’s messaging couldn’t simply be that vaccinated people can get back to normal, no masks, no social distancing indoors or outdoors? Slavitt never directly answered the question.
That segment and the one from this morning further exposed the entire problem with the public health messaging coming out of the White House. Here we had a doctor and former Obama Medicare official who ran with the “trust the science, trust the CDC!” arguments all of last year not being able to explain the science behind the CDC’s guidelines and the White House’s messaging on mask-wearing for fully vaccinated people. This guy is supposed to be a trusted medical expert. So, where was the expertise?
As reported earlier by my colleague Scott Hounsell, the CDC has just announced that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks indoors or outdoors “in most settings.”
That’s great news, but if their prior history of undermining CDC guidelines is a reliable indicator – and I think it is – the Biden White House is going to have a real challenge on its hands effectively communicating the updated guidelines and, more importantly, practicing what they preach, especially if they keep defaulting to the “he’s a very important man” excuse.
During his presidential campaign last year, one of the core messages Biden tried to convey is how a president can set the tone and lead by example by his words and actions. But when it comes to vaccine messaging, Biden says one thing and then does something else. And they’re at the point now where not even the most reliably friendly left-wing news outlets are giving them a free pass on it anymore.
When you’re a Democrat and you’ve lost staunch MSM allies like the WaPo and CNN, you know the time has come for you to consider reevaluating your message.