Democrats have gone from the “party of science” to the “party of status.”
That was the message Thursday morning when a senior White House adviser took to what are normally the friendly confines of a CNN interview to field a basic question about President Joe Biden’s habit of wearing a mask even though he and everyone around him has been vaccinated against COVID-19 for months.
And struck out badly.
The moment came when Andy Slavitt, bearing the lofty title of senior director for COVID response (and a man with a well-earned reputation for COVID alarmism) was asked on CNN’s “New Day” why the president was masked for a Wednesday meeting with top congressional leaders.
Along with the vaccinated Vice President Kamala Harris, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was there (vaccinated and masked asked as ever), along with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (ditto) and two Republicans, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (the same).
Presumably, all participants in the meeting were still governed by the executive order Biden issued on his first day of office requiring masks to be worn on federal property and inside federal buildings, including the White House.
John Berman of “New Day” asked Slavitt the obvious question.
“There was this Oval Office meeting yesterday with the president and the leaders of Congress,” he said. “Everyone in this room has been vaccinated. So, why were they all wearing masks, and what message does that send?”
Check it out here:
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
Slavitt sputtered through an initial “the CDC is getting there step by step” non-answer before acknowledging that “you can do everything indoors, if you’re around vaccinated people, without a mask.”
That’s when Berman repeated the question:
“Why were they all wearing masks in there yesterday?”
And that’s where Slavitt whiffed.
“I’m not too sure that the president is the average person. I personally think there’s a lot of protections around the president,” he said.
“Why does he need lots of Secret Service agents? Why does he, why do they, you know, belt and suspender everything with the president? Because he’s a very important person.”
So, the president is too important not to wear a mask regardless of what “science” and common sense would dictate. Got it.
It’s hard to say which part of the Slavitt answer was the most offensive.
Was it the fact that he clearly considers it an acceptable response to tell Americans — even a CNN audience — that they can face risks the president cannot, or the fact that he thinks his audience — even a CNN audience — is dumb enough to buy an explanation that really boils down to “because we said so”?
The reality is, the Biden White House has an established record of dishonesty when it comes to the coronavirus vaccine.
A few examples:
In his prime-time speech to Congress, Biden failed very obviously to give former President Donald Trump credit for the prodigious work done by his administration to get a vaccine developed quickly.
He launched baseless criticism of Republican governors for lifting mask mandates (“neanderthal thinking“).
He lied at least five times about how the number of coronavirus deaths in the U.S. compared with those of the country’s major wars, as even The Washington Post has pointed out. (Being wrong once or twice could be an accident. Five times is a lie repeated.)
Examples like these, and the often-embarrassing mask fetish, are just some of the ways the Biden White House has failed so consistently to give a clear, non-politicized picture of the state of the nation when it comes to COVID. (It’s almost like it was deliberate.)
And a huckster like Andy Slavitt expects Americans — even a CNN audience — to believe that the mask-wearing theater on display at the White House was a reasonable, if excessively cautious, safety move?
Judging by Berman’s facial expression, he wasn’t buying it. And neither were many social media users.
The vaccines work. Why does the president of the United States keep acting like they don't? https://t.co/mU8CTymrlP
— Stop scolding me, I'm vaccinated (@jtLOL) May 13, 2021
So why haven't we masked presidents for decades?
— Brand (@FrayedEnds21) May 13, 2021
— Matt (@MattF40) May 13, 2021
It’s all theatre.
— Angry_Traveler (@Angry_Traveler) May 13, 2021
That last one sums it up perfectly: It’s all for show — like the masks required for every vaccinated lawmaker who attended Biden’s address to the joint session of Congress in April — with the ostentatiously masked Pelosi and Harris seated behind the president.
The government during the Biden administration has been more focused on using the corinavirus as a vehicle for massive government programs than on a problem that needs to be solved.
Joe Biden owes his presidency to the coronavirus — no Democrat could have defeated Trump by running against the soaring economy and peace breaking out even among the intransigent enemies of the Middle East, and a doddering, almost certainly corrupt Biden wouldn’t have had a prayer.
The tie-breaking vice presidential Senate vote is in Democratic hands because of the coronavirus.
The scourge of COVID-19, in short, has been a blessing to the Democratic Party, which has used it to ram through a series of massive government spending programs that are changing the relationship of government to its citizens — and burdening generations of Americans to come with a debt that will likely never be repaid.
They’re not going to want to give it up anytime soon — and that means the mask theater has its uses.
It’s probably a coincidence, but the Slavitt interview came the same morning that Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters that fully vaccinated Americans can “participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large and small, without wearing a mask or physical distancing,” as National Review reported.
That should be good news to the Biden administration — and one more reason every American has to feel gratitude for Donald Trump.
As to whether the CDC’s new position will make for a noticeable change in Biden’s behavior, that’s an open question.
He’s still a “very important person,” after all, and “very important persons” have different rules.
Democrats are the party of status now, no matter what they claim about “science.”
And since Jan. 20, the country has gotten a very good, very damning look at what they consider to be important.
As Slavitt’s embarrassing explanation showed, the truth isn’t at the top of the list.