RNC Questions Whether Biden Was Vaccinated President Joe Biden talks to members of the media at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Ga., on Thursday, April 29, 2021. (Evan Vucci/AP)
By Cathy Burke | Monday, 03 May 2021 12:56 PM
Republicans are stepping up criticism of President Joe Biden's continued mask-wearing in public settings outside — despite Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines declaring it's safe to go maskless outdoors if fully vaccinated.
On Monday, the Republican National Committee's Tommy Pigott chided "it's impossible to tell" if Biden is fully vaccinated because he "routinely wears a mask when on a stage outside, or when walking alone outside with Jill Biden, who has also been vaccinated."
"Astonishingly, Biden even wore a mask outside alone … while announcing new CDC guidance saying you do not need to wear a mask outside alone," Pigott, the RNC's rapid response director, said in an email.
"He even bizarrely suggested that violating CDC guidance on wearing a mask when with other vaccinated people is a 'patriotic responsibility.'"
Pigott suggested Biden's continued mask-wearing is "undoubtedly" helping to "undermine vaccine confidence, and he doesn't seem to care."
"His unscientific actions are confusing the American people and undermining confidence in the vaccine as he slow-walks reopening on schools and businesses," Pigott charged. "It's time for Biden to follow the science, remove the mask, and open his eyes."
Fox News' Sean Hannity also hit Biden for the mask-wearing in his show April 30.
"Our question is, why is Mr. Follow the Science still wearing a mask and what kind of message is he sending here?" Hannity stated. "Does he want Americans to think the vaccines maybe have suspicious they're not as effective as they've been telling us? Does he want mass mandate social distancing in perpetuity forever? You know how is it that — how is any of this getting us back to normal life?"
And Dr. Brett Giroir, the COVID testing czar for former President Donald Trump, said Biden isn't helping clear up the "many mixed messages" spreading about where and when to wear masks.
"I think this is very confusing (and) causing people to not have faith in the vaccine, exactly the opposite of what we want," Giroir said of Biden's mask-wearing outdoors.
But in an interview on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday, White House aide Anita Dunn said the president has continued wearing masks outside and in small groups with other vaccinated people because he's taking "extra precautions."
"You know, we do take some extra precautions for him because he is the President of the United States," she said, adding: "I think the President takes the CDC guidelines very seriously, and he's always taken his role as sending a signal to follow the science, very seriously as well."
Biden himself defended the practice in an NBC interview.
"You and I took our masks off because look at the distance we are. If we were, in fact, sitting there and talking to one another close, I'd have my mask on, and I'd make you to have mask, even though we both have been vaccinated," he explained.
"And so, it's a small precaution to take that has a profound impact. It's a patriotic responsibility, for God's sake. It's making sure your wife, your children if they haven't been vaccinated, making sure that they're not going to get sick."