House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) did away with her mask and socialized indoors during a White House event on Thursday, even while still enforcing a COVID-19 mask mandate on the House floor. Anyone breaking it will be fined up to $500.
Pelosi continues to enforce the mask mandate on the House floor. This is despite new CDC guidance saying fully vaccinated people can do without it in most places. Republicans who are against this called the speaker out for the double standard.
Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.) for one, called it hypocrisy. He was one of the Republican lawmakers given a $500 fine for not wearing a mask on the House floor this week.
Green said that the first thing they teach in “Leadership 101 at West Point” was to never ask people to do something you’re not willing to do. He then pointed out to Pelosi, who did not wear a mask while in the House, at the speaker’s rostrum, nor while visiting the White House.
Pelosi Spotted Maskless at White House Event
On Thursday, Pelosi did away with the mask while attending an East Room celebration at the White House. The said celebration was over the signing of a new COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act into law. The House speaker was seen hugging and mingling with people in the event. She did not have a mask and did not observe proper social distancing.
According to a spokesperson for Pelosi, the White House released official guidance for the event. In it, it said that fully vaccinated individuals who are coming need not wear masks or observe social distancing. Meanwhile, non-vaccinated individuals were asked to still wear masks and keep their distance. The White House guests also underwent a test for COVID-19 prior to entering the event.
Drew Hammill, a spokesperson for the House speaker, added that Pelosi was required to reveal her vaccination status. She also had to submit a negative test result to enter the event.
The CDC announced new guidance last week. It said fully vaccinated people do not have to wear masks in most cases. The White House lifted the mandate, but the House floor did not. Pelosi did slightly relax the House guidance, allowing members to take their face masks off when they get recognized to speak on the floor.
In the Senate chamber of Congress, however, no mask rule exists.
Pelosi Maintains House Floor Mask Mandate Despite New CDC Guidance
Pelosi and Dr. Brain Monahan, who serves as the Capitol Attending Physician, have stated that the said mask mandate on the House floor will remain unchanged until all members are fully vaccinated. The speaker previously estimated that 75% of the members received the vaccine. She added that if these members want the House floor to go maskless, they should encourage their colleagues to receive the vaccine.
On Thursday, Pelosi said that they had the responsibility to make sure the House chamber doesn’t become a “petri dish” due to the selfishness of a few.
However, several Republican House members have openly refused to wear their masks this week, facing $500 fines each for violating the rules. Some who were fined said they are only following the new CDC guidance as they are already fully vaccinated. Others, however, declined to mention their vaccination status, while a few questioned the safety of the vaccines.