Home Climate Change John Kerry, Jen Psaki Go Maskless at White House Press Briefing

John Kerry, Jen Psaki Go Maskless at White House Press Briefing


Both White House press secretary Jen Psaki and special presidential envoy for climate John Kerry spoke without sporting masks during Wednesday’s press briefing.

The press conference featured Kerry and White House national climate adviser Gina McCarthy, both of whom detailed the actions the Biden administration is taking to combat climate change, which progressives consider a central issue.

While Kerry removed his mask before speaking from the podium, McCarthy wore a mask as she spoke — sending a mixed message from the administration following President Biden’s order requiring masks to be worn on federal property, with limited exceptions:

WHITE HOUSE PRESS BRIEFING: John Kerry, the newly named special presidential envoy for climate, joins national climate advisor Gina McCarthy and White House press secretary Jen Psaki for a press briefing. https://t.co/EoxU9t0Iyp

— NowThis (@nowthisnews) January 27, 2021

John Kerry says oil and gas workers have been fed a “false narrative” that action on climate change will hurt their livelihoods, and that President Biden wants to “make sure that those folks have better choices” for jobs in the energy sector https://t.co/Nj065CIsxp pic.twitter.com/czkjomesi8

— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 27, 2021

.@nancycordes asks why coal is not mentioned in President Biden’s climate executive orders, while oil and gas are.

National climate adviser Gina McCarthy says coal “will be looked at” but “was not part of the commitments on the campaign” https://t.co/Nj065CIsxp pic.twitter.com/EaN8ZxxQQW

— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 27, 2021

Biden signed an order last week requiring “heads of executive departments and agencies” to “require compliance with CDC guidelines with respect to wearing masks,” as well as other mitigation measures, on federal property. Heads of agencies are permitted to make “categorical or case-by-case exceptions” but must document the exceptions in writing and “require appropriate alternative safeguards, such as additional physical distancing measures, additional testing, or reconfiguration of workspace, consistent with applicable law.”

It remains unclear if Psaki and Kerry have been granted exceptions in writing.

Psaki also did not wear a mask at the podium on Monday or Tuesday, and other officials, including Susan Rice and Dr. Anthony Fauci, have also spoken from the podium without a mask over the last week.

Biden signed new orders on climate change on Wednesday, announcing a ban on new oil and gas leases on federal lands and waters.

During the presidential election, the then-Democrat candidate denied that he would move to ban fracking, accusing former President Trump of lying about him. “No, I would not shut down this industry. I know our Republican friends are trying to say I said that,” he said on the campaign trail.

In a Wednesday address, Biden claimed, again, that he is not banning fracking.

The president has canceled the Keystone XL pipeline and moved to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord in his first week in office.

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