White House press secretary Jen Psaki, who said in her first briefing that she intended to "bring transparency" back to American government, engaged in a testy exchange with Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy on Thursday.
Doocy had asked why President Biden and his family were not wearing masks when visiting the Lincoln Memorial just hours after Biden signed an executive order mandating mask-wearing on federal land.
"He was celebrating an evening, a historic day in our country," Psaki 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 wearing masks, how it can save tens of thousands of lives. We take a number of COVID precautions as you know here in terms of testing, social distancing, mask wearing ourselves, as we do every single day, but I don't know that I have more for you on it than that."
Doocy pushed back, citing President Biden's own words about the "power of our example," asking if indeed the first family was setting a good example.
"Well Steve, I think the power of his example is also the message he sends by signing 25 executive orders including almost half of them related to COVID, the requirements we're all under every single day here to ensure we're sending that message to the public," Psaki shot back. "Yesterday was an historic moment in our history, he was inaugurated as president of the United States, he was surrounded by his family, we take a number of precautions, but I think we have bigger issues to worry about at this moment in time."
Psaki then moved on to a different question.