Andy Slavitt Says Biden Wears Mask Because He's Important

White House Senior Advisor for COVID-19 Response Andy Slavitt had a pretty simple answer for the umpteenth media personality to ask why ...


White House Senior Advisor for COVID-19 Response Andy Slavitt had a pretty simple answer for the umpteenth media personality to ask why President Joe Biden wore a mask in such-and-such situation.

This time, it was CNN’s John Berman, and he was asking about Wednesday’s Oval Office meeting with Congressional leaders, all of whom wore masks — even the Republicans — and all of whom have been vaccinated.

Berman told Slavitt that “part of getting people vaccinated is to tell them that their lives will be different, changed, better, if they get the vaccine. There was this Oval Office meeting yesterday with the president and the leaders of Congress. Everyone in this room has been vaccinated.”

“So why were they all wearing masks? And what message does that send?” Berman asked.

Slavitt acknowledged that vaccinated people are getting “impatient” with guidance, and noted that “right now you can do pretty much everything outdoors without a mask, you can do everything indoors if you’re around vaccinated people without a mask.”

“sO WhY WeRe tHeY AlL WeArInG MaSkS In tHeRe yEsTeRdAy?” Berman said.

“I’m not too sure that the president is the average person, I personally think there’s a lot of protections around the president,” Slavitt replied, adding “Why does he need lots of Secret Service agents? Why do you they belt and suspender everything with the president? Because he’s a very important person.”

The clip has already drawn predictable fire from the RNC, which snarkily tweeted “Biden COVID adviser Andy Slavitt: Biden Violates CDC guidance to always wear a mask because he’s ‘very important’,” after nearly a year of demonstrating little concern for presidential violations of CDC guidelines.

Now, I like John Berman and do not want to single him out, so I won’t. This has been a silly and destructive obsession with media figures — from Jake Tapper to Peter Alexander to Olivia Nuzzi to Jake Tapper again to every White House reporter with nothing stupider to ask (a surprisingly small subset)  — for weeks now. And I also don’t want to give a pass to actively anti-vax and anti-ending-the-pandemic personalities on other networks. But the credibility of figures in the Earth 1 media makes their engagement on this issue especially damaging.

Here’s the thing: Slavitt’s answer is perfectly fine and obvious, and every one of the reporters pimping this stupid fucking narrative knows this because they spent the previous year blasting Trump for being anti-mask and gushing the few times that he did. They all know that low risk doesn’t mean no risk, especially when one of the dudes in the room is part of a legislative body shot through with enthusiastic superspreaders carrying God-knows-what mutation, and that continuing to wear a mask is also a message for people to remain vigilant without having to calculate vaccine statuses and exact distances and the prevalence of known and unknown variants in a given region.

But the thing that pisses me off the most is that this is an entirely made-up issue. I’d love to see the data that says there is even a sliver of overlap between people who have been scrupulously wearing masks at the CDC’s behest and also were totally going to get vaccinated until they saw that Joe Biden wore a mask to walk up to an outdoor podium and threw up their hands and said “WELP, I guess I gotta wear this mask FOREVER, and so I will not get vaccinated, THANKS JOE BIDEN!”

It seems far more likely to me, a layperson who can read polls and watch superspreading dumbasses ruin America for a year, that the 19 percent of vaccine dead-enders and the people who still trust the drink bleach guy for medical advice are the same people, and Joe Biden could wear stone tablets engraved by White Jehovah and it wouldn’t make a difference to them.

I also think Biden might be on to something when he says vaccine hesitancy is mostly bullshit, and that eventually a lot of the people who rant to pollsters about the Biden vaccine will eventually end up getting it on the down-low.

Now, I’m all for desperately trying to fill a content hole, if for no other reason than that it’s fun to mock, but this shit is actually harmful, because it goes hand-in-hand with a broader media effort to create a false equivalency between people who choose to remain cautious in the face of relaxed CDC guidance, and people who spread the disease for a year and killed over half a million of us by actively going against it.

Even if you concede that some individuals are being “too cautious” by continuing to wear masks in situations that the CDC says are low risk, which is a tough call to make without knowing every individual’s preexisting health status and a shitty judgment to make without knowing how many of their loved ones and acquaintances have suffered and died alone, these people are hurting precisely no one.

But sending the “message” that masks are so over, and trusting that those hearing it will carefully attenuate it to the CDC guidance and what some medical expert on CNN told them, and not just ditch them completely, all so that people who already aren’t wearing masks will somehow be incentivized to get a vaccine they don’t want? That carries the potential for real harm. The last person to wear a mask without needing one will outlive the last person who ditched a mask when they should have worn one.

So please, for the sake of a nation that just needs to keep it together a little while longer, knock this shit off.

Watch above via CNN.

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.



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Newsrust - US Top News: Andy Slavitt Says Biden Wears Mask Because He's Important
Andy Slavitt Says Biden Wears Mask Because He's Important
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