State of the Union Miracle: White House Lifts Mask Mandate

The White House announced their mask mandate in the building would be lifted on Tuesday,  the same day as President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address.

“We’re not going to be required to wear a mask starting tomorrow,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced on Monday during the daily briefing.

On Monday, both Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris both wore masks during an event at the White House recognizing Black History Month.

But White House staff and reporters will no longer be required to wear masks in the building starting Tuesday.

Psaki denied, however, the updated guidance had anything to do with the president’s State of the Union address on Tuesday evening.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki (L) and Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre listen during a press briefing at the White House September 2, 2021, in Washington, DC. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

“Well, I would say the President is very powerful, but he couldn’t make us be in the green zone that we’re in right now in D.C.,” she said to reporters, referring to the Centers for Disease Control announcement on Friday their revised criteria for masking mandates during the coronavirus pandemic.

On Sunday, the Capitol physician also used the CDC’s new metrics to lift the mask mandate for members of Congress.

Psaki said the decision to revise the guidance in time for the president’s address on Capitol Hill was entirely left to the CDC.

“I would say that for him, it had nothing to do with the timing around the State of the Union,” she said referring to Biden. “He wanted to give the CDC the time to assess and make recommendations that would be clear to the American public about what their recommendations would be for mask-wearing moving forward.”

Charlie Spiering