President Joe Biden wore two masks on Wednesday in the Oval Office to demonstrate his commitment to stopping the spread of the coronavirus.
The president wore two masks as he met with labor union leaders to discuss future infrastructure spending and his commitment to high-paying union jobs.
“Every once in a while as president, you get to invite close friends into the Oval,” Biden chuckled after reporters entered the room.
Biden began his presidency wearing one mask when reporters were in the Oval Office, but has also appeared in the Oval without opting to wear any mask.
During the presidential campaign, Biden was frequently spotted wearing two masks when he appeared in public, but his mask-wearing has not been consistent since his becoming president.
Since he was inaugurated, Biden has worn a number of different style masks while appearing in the Oval Office, or no mask at all.
US President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting with a bipartisan group of governors and mayors on his Covid-19 relief plan, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, on February 12, 2021. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
In this Jan. 28, 2021 file photo, President Joe Biden signs a series of executive orders in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. Biden campaigned on raising the national minimum wage to $15 per hour and attached a proposal doing just that to the $1.9 trillion coronavirus pandemic relief bill. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Joe Biden during his meeting with Democratic lawmakers to discuss a coronavirus relief package, in the Oval Office of the White House, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Joe Biden delivers remarks on health care, in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
The CDC has advised that a double mask can improve the prevention of individuals from spreading respiratory droplets, but warned that double masking might make it more difficult to breathe or possibly block one’s vision.
Four labor union leaders sat on the couches in the Oval Office, remaining socially distanced from the president. Other labor leaders sat further behind.
Biden praised the labor movement for creating the middle class and promised to stand with them in the future.
“A lot of these folks have been my friends for a long, long, long time,” he said. “As they say in parts of my state, these are the folks that brung me to the dance.”
Biden faced early criticism from AFL-CIO union President Richard Trumka after he canceled the Keystone XL pipeline, costing 1,000 union jobs.
“I wish he hadn’t done that on the first day,” Trumka said, agreeing that Biden made a mistake by rushing to cancel the project without having new jobs to promote.