White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Wednesday claimed that President Joe Biden left a Medal of Honor recipient’s ceremony early yesterday in order to “minimize his close contact with attendees.”
Biden’s early departure from the ceremony puzzled viewers, as it is not typical for a president to do so.
The Tuesday ceremony was to honor 81-year-old Army Captain Larry L. Taylor, a Vietnam veteran, for conspicuous gallantry while serving as a team leader of a helicopter light-fire team that rescued a patrol team surrounded by the enemy.
After placing the award around Taylor’s neck as is customary, Biden saluted him and walked out of the room before the ceremony was over.
Jean-Pierre claimed during the White House briefing the next day that Biden purposely walked out early during a “pause” in the ceremony to minimize the risk of him spreading COVID to others. While she said Biden has tested negative for COVID, first lady Jill Biden tested positive on Monday:
He left when there was a pause in the program in order to minimize — to minimize his close contact with attendees, who are who are about to participate in a reception. And as you all reported that, and noticed that he left, when there was a pause in the program because again, he wanted to minimize certainly his impact on folks who were there.
However, she had no explanation for why Biden wore a mask during the ceremony but took it off in the middle of the ceremony and did not put it back on. She claimed:
The President took off his mask, as I said he would deliver incredibly powerful remarks about this Captain Taylor, and what he did in service to our nation. And we wanted to honor the captain. And for a brief time afterwards, he also didn’t have his mask on, as you just laid out. And he left as planned.
She also claimed that Biden was masked while spending a “good amount of time” with Taylor and his family before the ceremony, but did not explain why Biden had his mask off while standing next to Taylor and placing the award around his neck.
WH @PressSec claimed Biden left a Medal of Honor ceremony early yesterday in order to “minimize his close contact” with attendees.
She also said Biden spent a “good amount” of time with Capt. Larry Tayor and his family before the ceremony, masked. However, at the ceremony… pic.twitter.com/REa5fHs2q7
— Kristina Wong 🇺🇸 (@kristina_wong) September 6, 2023
“The President in every way that we could yesterday, followed the CDC guidelines,” she said.
Rep. Wesley Hunt (R-TX) slammed Biden for leaving the ceremony early.
“At least he didn’t check his watch this time,” he posted on X, referring to Biden checking his watch while receiving the bodies of fallen service members at Dover Air Force Base after the botched Afghanistan withdrawal.
At least he didn’t check his watch this time. 🙄 https://t.co/0YliK0Ugp0
— Wesley Hunt (@WesleyHuntTX) September 5, 2023