Fox’s Bret Baier Puts Pete Buttigieg In The Hot Seat Over Admin’s Decision To Appeal Mask Ruling

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Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
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Fox News’ Bret Baier put Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in the hot seat Wednesday, questioning whether it is hypocritical for the administration to appeal the public transportation mask mandate ruling.

Baier asked whether Dr. Anthony Fauci’s decision not to attend the upcoming White House Correspondents Dinner sends a signal.

“I think, as he said, that’s his personal assessment of his personal risk, and I think we are moving into a phase where that’s where a lot of the decision-making is going to lie, right? We are seeing, of course, there are ups and downs and maybe there will be more, but generally we have seen a move where you have got fewer general requirements for everybody and more and more it’s on you as an individual, as a shopper, as a traveler,” Buttigieg said.

Baier then asked whether Buttigieg believes “voters will look at [the administration’s decision to appeal the ruling rescinding the mask mandate for public transportation] and hold the Biden administration or Democrats kind of responsible for something that they really don’t want?”

Buttigieg said it had nothing to do with politics but rather getting “clarity on the public health authority that the CDC has.”


Baier pushed back, however, asking if there was a “disconnect” that members of the Biden administration, including President Joe Biden, would be attending the White House Correspondents Dinner, where there is no mask mandate, but are fighting to keep a mask mandate in place for public transportation.

“The president’s going to the White House Correspondents Dinner. You’re not mandated to wear a mask there. The administration at the same time is fighting a lawsuit to mandate people on planes, trains and buses to wear masks. So, like, if you are sitting at home there is a disconnect here,” Baier said.

“Well, I think most of us understand the difference between a hotel ballroom and an airplane. And again, a lot of this is about what authorities the CDC has,” Buttigieg responded. “So, even if they don’t think we need it at all, they’d still want to make sure that we get clarity in court on the legalities of it. But look, as a practical matter — and I know this is confusing — if you’re getting on an airplane, it’s your call. It’s up to you. And I think the most important thing right now is that everybody’s treated with respect, those who choose to wear a mask and those who choose not to.”

The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced April 20 it would appeal the ruling by a Florida judge that stated the mask mandate on public transit exceeds the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) statutory authority under the Administrative Procedure Act. The CDC requested the appeal. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Senator Ernst Calls On Biden Administration Not To Appeal Travel Mask Mandate Ruling)

“To protect CDC’s public health authority beyond the ongoing assessment announced last week, CDC has asked DOJ to proceed with an appeal in Health Freedom Defense Fund, Inc., et al., v. Biden, et al.,” the CDC statement said. “It is CDC’s continuing assessment that at this time an order requiring masking in the indoor transportation corridor remains necessary for the public health conditions to determine whether such an order remains necessary.”

Prior to the appeal, when asked whether people should still wear masks on a plane, Biden said “that’s up to them.”