Now that liberal scolds are back to harping on diligent mask-wearing both indoors and outdoors to prevent the spread of COVID-19, President Joe Biden is in trouble.
Yes, Biden is a mask hawk. The moment wearing a piece of cloth over your mouth became a performative signal that you Follow The Science — even in situations where the risk of virus transmission was negligible — Biden was all about it. Take this tweet from his candidate days, which the tone and verbiage of a World War II propaganda poster:
Be a patriot. Protect your fellow citizens. Wear a mask.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 18, 2020
That’s not why he’s in trouble, then. Biden is a man who’s made it clear he’ll mask up whenever he remembers to mask up. It’s the memory part that’s the problem.
On Friday, for instance, Biden was at the University of Connecticut for the rededication of the Dodd Center for Human Rights. This speech — the kind that’s normally a harmless slam-dunk for a politician with decades of public appearances under his belt — became a fount of endless viral clips demonstrating a shocking lack of self-awareness on the president’s part.
For instance, Biden was there with former Sen. Chris Dodd, son of the center’s namesake and a man who spent 30 years serving with Biden in the upper chamber of the U.S. Congress.
“We truly are really good, close friends — Sen. Chris Dodd. Chris and I have known each other a long time,” Biden said, explaining why he thought Dodd was exemplary: He isn’t one of those “people who tell me they care about people and then disrespect the waitress or a waiter.”
That testimony to Dodd’s character managed to be callous, clueless and cringeworthy all at once. Back in 1990, in the days before a #MeToo allegation of sexual impropriety could wreck a politician’s career, a GQ piece alleged Dodd and then-Sen. Ted Kennedy (now deceased) had sexually assaulted a wait staff member at a Washington, D.C., restaurant in 1985 by forcing her into what would later become colloquially referred to as a “waitress sandwich.”
🚨🚨Wait, wait, wait, holdup.
Joe Biden just said his friend Chris Dodd is not someone who “would disrespect a waitress.”
For those who need the refresher, Dodd is INFAMOUS for being part of a “waitress sandwich” with Ted Kennedy, at a D.C. restaurant.pic.twitter.com/PazCHX90cS
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) October 15, 2021
What I wouldn’t have given to have seen 2021 Joe Biden eulogize the late Teddy: “He was the kind of guy who, if a girl needed a ride back to her place late at night, Ted Kennedy would drop everything and make sure she got back. No joke, he literally would have.”
Anyhow, that was the kind of day Joe Biden was having. And we were so busy analyzing what he was saying at the microphone we didn’t notice what happened when he mingled in the crowd:
In the clip, posted by the GOP on YouTube, it takes Biden a few seconds to realize he’s not wearing a mask. His distress is evident, and it’s humiliating — for him and the country he’s supposed to lead.
Even worse, it’s pretty clear that he asks those around him to get him a facial covering, and wipes his mouth while he’s at it. Then he proceeds to shake hands.
Apparently, someone wasn’t being a patriot or protecting his fellow citizens — and this wasn’t the first time it had happened, either.
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) January 21, 2021
When asked about the incident, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said “he was celebrating an evening — uh — a historic day in our country,” she responded. “And certainly he signed the mask mandate because it’s a way to send a message to the American public about the importance of, uh, wearing masks.”
It turned out it wasn’t just historic days, however.
Joe Biden walks away without his mask again… the audience chuckles when he comes back to get it. pic.twitter.com/wBAmmEWHj6
— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) March 25, 2021
This was Biden on March 24 after an Equal Pay Day event at the White House. That’s not quite Inauguration Day territory.
Nor is signing his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package:
Nor is a February media briefing about vaccines:
— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) February 25, 2021
All of these events have two things in common.
First, they lend more credence to my theory Republicans can potentially run out the clock on the Biden presidency if they just tell Joe they won’t filibuster immigration reform provided he stands in the corner of the Oval Office for 10 minutes. (Look, it’s worth a shot.)
Second, it’s proof that so much of the president’s messaging on facial coverings is little more than mask theater — and the artifice becomes glaring when Biden starts tripping over the stage wires.
It’s not just that Joe Biden forgets his mask a lot. In none of these situations was the president or anyone around him in any real danger of catching or transmitting SARS-CoV-2 — or any other virus.
Have Democrats turned masks into stage props?
In some cases, all he was doing was walking to a door. He was vaccinated early — and most of these clips were in the pre-delta days, when a vaccine was a near-lock as a viral prophylactic.
In Connecticut, he was in an outdoor setting with people mulling about. He still felt comfortable enough to start glad-handing the crowd — as well he should, because the science is clear on how safe this is, and how unlikely outdoor COVID-19 transmission is.
But not before he asked for a mask.
The left demands he mask up, after all, and Joe Biden complies. The clucking of the mask Karens, apparently, invokes just as much fear in the heart of our president as yet another “let’s go, Brandon” chant.