White House press secretary Jen Psaki battled a Fox News reporter on Monday over President Joe Biden’s use of a mask at a recent outing to a DC restaurant.
During her daily press briefing, the White House aide was asked by Fox’s Peter Doocy regarding a video that surfaced over the weekend of Mr Biden and first lady Dr Jill Biden walking through Fiola Mare, a high-end Washington restaurant specialising in Italian seafood, without masks on their faces.
On Monday, Ms Psaki contended to Mr Doocy that the pair had not been as quick to put their masks on as they should have been, calling it a common mistake.
Pointing out after Ms Psaki’s answer that the pair were walking through the restaurant and not just walking out of the front door maskless, as the press secretary suggested, Mr Doocy pressed again about “why the president was doing this.”
“I think I just addressed it,” she quipped.
The president and first lady were seen dining at Fiola Mare on Saturday evening; the pricy Georgetown restaurant boasts a Michelin star, and White House officials told the press that the couple were having a “date night” at the seafood spot.
A video first posted on TikTok showed the couple walking through the main dining area maskless; subsequent photos taken outside by journalists showed the pair still holding their masks as they exited.
President Biden leaving the restaurant after date night with the First Lady (who ducked out moments before as he looked to triage some selfie requests). pic.twitter.com/q2AMku5AHL
— Josh Wingrove (@josh_wingrove) October 17, 2021
Washington DC reinstated its mandate requiring masks inside businesses earlier this year; the city also requires masks on public transportation. The mayor’s executive order allows for fines of up to $1,000 to be levied against individuals for violations, but the punishment is scarcely enforced; generally speaking, violating persons are instructed to leave or escorted out of businesses.
The first couple have been spotted at numerous swanky DC restaurants since taking over the White House in January; they have also dined at Le Diplomate, a prestigious French restaurant, with Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff.