Psaki Clarifies After Biden Says Masking Is Now Up To Americans

Screenshot YouTube, White House Press Briefing 4/20/22

Shelby Talcott Senior White House Correspondent
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White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday sought to clarify President Joe Biden’s comment on whether Americans should mask on planes.

A Trump-appointed federal judge in Florida struck down the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) mask mandate for public transportation Monday, and Biden was soon pressed on whether people should continue masking on planes despite the court order. The president, speaking to reporters Tuesday afternoon, said masking is “up to” the people.

“The president was answering the question quite literally, which means right now – as you know – we are not implementing the mask mandate because of the court order, which we disagree with, while he [Biden] is still abiding by CDC guidance,” Psaki said when pressed on Biden’s comments during Wednesday’s press briefing. “And we recommend Americans do that across the country.”


Psaki was also pressed on whether Biden’s comment marked a “shift” in White House messaging on masks. The press secretary clarified the president’s remarks further and maintained that the administration continues to follow CDC guidance, which recommends masking on public transportation – though Biden did not indicate such in his answer.

“Well first, I would say we continue to recommend everyone wear masks on planes. What the president was speaking to is, of course, because we are not currently implementing the mask mandate, it is not a requirement, so people can choose – even as we recommend it,” Psaki responded. (RELATED: The Biden Administration Is Ignoring The Science On Airplane Masking)

“But to be clear, we are recommending everyone wear masks on planes. That is what the CDC is recommending. That is the public health guidance we are following,” she continued.


Biden’s comment on Tuesday came shortly after Psaki noted that the administration is still advising all Americans to abide by the CDC guidance of wearing masks on airplanes.

“The CDC continues to advise and recommends masks on airplanes,” Psaki told reporters at the time. “We’re abiding by the CDC recommendations, the president is, and we would advise all Americans to do that.”

The White House previously said it will continue to require masks during trips with the president due to the CDC’s guidance.