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White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was visibly rattled after Fox News White House Correspondent Jacqui Heinrich grilled her about possible mask update guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control.
The tense exchange began when Heinrich asked Psaki when the public could expect an update on mask policy from the CDC given several states are rolling back or planning to remove mask mandates
“When are we going to hear from the CDC on this guidance? California yesterday changed their guidance. Randi Weingarten — teachers union — is vocally asking for the White House and the CDC to weigh in. So when are we going to hear from the CDC about updating the guidance on masks?” Heinrich asked.
Psaki did not like the question one bit.
“You’ll have to ask the CDC. The CDC moves at the pace of data and science,” Psaki replied, claiming the Biden administration wants to keep in place whatever guidance allowed schools to remain open.
“We want kids to be in school. Ninety-eight percent of schools are open. That’s a very —” Psaki continued.
“Do —” Heinrich cut in, but Psaki pushed back.
“Let me finish. That’s a very good sign,” she said.
“Do you believe —” Heinrich tried again, but Psaki kept going.
“We know what works. The CDC is always going to be reviewing their guidance, including mask guidance. But in terms of when they will provide additional new guidance, that is up to them,” Psaki said again.
“Do you believe then that the Democratic-led states who are breaking with the CDC on this guidance, that they’re not — that they’re throwing science away and that the CDC is — has access to different science somehow?” Heinrich pressed.
Heinrich was referring to a number of states that announced plans to scale back or remove the mask mandates.
“We don’t look at it through that prism. These states, I think it’s important to note, they still allow for decisions to be made by local school districts,” Psaki said, claiming the real concern is that there would be places where parents or children choose to wear masks in schools but elected leaders would prevent them from doing so.
She then claimed that was already the case in some states.
“Our hope is that states, leaders will look at the science and data about what’s going on, they’ll make decisions about local school districts. Local school districts have always made these decisions. That remains the case,” Psaki concluded.
REPORTER: "When are we going to hear from the CDC about updating the guidance on masks?"
PSAKI: “You’ll have to ask the CDC.” pic.twitter.com/xtlgJfXuc8
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) February 8, 2022