A Medal of Honor ceremony spun sideways Tuesday after President Biden exited the White House East Room before the closing benediction. When asked about it, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden’s actions were done “very purposefully.” Explained the press secretary, “He left as planned, as it was planned. He left when there was a pause in the program in order to minimize his close contact with attendees who are about to participate in a reception.” President Biden apparently sought to minimize contact because his wife, First Lady Jill Biden, has contracted COVID-19 for a second time.
As an added precautionary measure, President Biden wore a mask. “We planned for the president to leave when there was a pause in the program so that it would minimize him being in the room. He did just that,” said Jean-Pierre. “And I also would want to add that before the event started, the president spent a good amount of time with the captain, Capt. Taylor, and his family. And everybody was masked because he wanted to spend that quality, important time.”
Captain Larry Taylor was a Vietnam War hero who flew a helicopter into heavy enemy fire to rescue four fellow soldiers. The now 81-year-old veteran’s sunken eyes and emotional face suggested that likely no civilian can imagine the things he witnessed and experienced during that dreadful conflict. The day rightly should have been about him.
Did I say Biden “wore a mask?” That lasted less than two minutes, and Biden exited in less than 20 minutes. Biden slipped off his mask during the opening prayer — before he ever approached the lectern — and then it simply disappeared. After Biden finished speaking, he stood — maskless — at Taylor’s shoulder for two minutes, in which time he touched his face at least twice. Then Biden spent another two maskless minutes bestowing and adjusting the medal — close enough to touch and breathe on Taylor — before walking out of the room — through the audience — without his mask on. The only person to wear a mask after the initial entrance was the young officer who handed the medal to Biden.
For those who want to know, a cursory Google search revealed that’s not how Medal of Honor ceremonies normally proceed — not even for President Biden. On July 5, 2022, Biden stayed through all 43 minutes of a ceremony that awarded four Medals of Honor. At a December 21, 2022, Medal of Honor ceremony, when all attendees were wearing masks, Biden kept his mask on until he stepped up to the podium. On that occasion, Biden also forgot to put his mask back on for the first honoree, but then he remembered and put his mask back on for the next two honorees — but again he stayed until the ceremony’s end.
On Wednesday, Biden held his mask in his hand while taking the stage at an East Room event. “Hello everybody,” the president began. “Let me explain to the press, I’ve been tested again today. I’m clear across the board. But they keep telling me, because this has to be 10 days or something, I’ve got to keep wearing it. But don’t tell them I didn’t have it on when I just walked in.”
Perhaps you’re thinking, “What’s the big deal? COVID is old news. Newer variants are less dangerous, and the pandemic is over. So, who cares how Biden wears a mask?” And you’d be right.
The problem is whoever Biden meant by “they” — the people telling the quadruple-vaccinated president — who also had and recovered from the virus — that he must still wear a mask in public for 10 days merely because he is exposed to a less severe form of COVID — not infected with it. Whomever “they” are, they still control levers of power, and their petty totalitarianism is so tiresome and unnecessary that even President Biden refuses to abide by their diktats.
The reason it matters is because the COVID tyrants have much more power over ordinary Americans than over President Biden. An uptick in COVID cases has not only launched rumors about a return to the same failed policies, but the vampiric policies themselves have slid out of their unholy graves — or never even went away. Over 100 colleges, including Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and Rutgers, still require students to get the jab, according to an August report by No College Mandates. Not that COVID ever posed a significant risk to college-age adults.
Meanwhile, elementary students in Montgomery County, Maryland were required to wear K-95 masks after three out of 541 students tested positive over 10 days. If the post-pandemic data should have taught us anything, it is that lockdown- and mask-related learning loss inflicts far worse consequences on young children than a possible COVID infection.
Biden’s flippant rebellion against his own administration’s mask guidance underscores the absurdity of these restrictions on everyone else. “If only children in Montgomery County public schools also had the freedom to not wear a mask,” tweeted Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas. Biden could joke about getting in trouble for breaking the rules because he wouldn’t really face consequences. Yet Biden wants to stick the rules on ordinary people who lack that same luxury.
What’s clear from these incidents is that even the COVID president doesn’t take the risks seriously anymore when it comes to his personal behavior. Will he reimpose mandates forcing the rest of us to pretend it is serious again? On Thursday, a bill to prevent another federal mask mandate failed to gain unanimous consent on the Senate floor — which means someone wants to keep the option open.
“Don’t tell them I didn’t have [my mask] on when I walked in,” said Biden. Heritage Foundation research fellow Lora Ries responded, “We’re right there with you — don’t tell us to mask either.”
Originally published at The Washington Stand.
Joshua Arnold is Media Coordinator for Family Research Council.