Why The CDC’s Recommendation Against Non-Essential Travel Doesn’t Apply To Joe Biden

With the CDC continuing to recommend against non-essential travel during the pandemic – even for those that have been vaccinated, despite their own science – a reporter asked the White House Press Secretary whether that guidance applies to the President and Vice President.

Jen Psaki said that it does not. Her reasons why are revealing.

“I would say that the president travels, as does the vice president, on a private plane,” Psaki said. “That is the purview of every president and vice president throughout American history.”

Psaki said traveling on a private plane is “of course, different than traveling on a commercial flight and going to mass events.”

“As you know, we don’t – the president is not hosting rallies, nor is the the vice president,” Psaki said. “We take the role of being models quite seriously.”

According to the White House Press Secretary,

  • Travel by private plane is an exception to CDC guidance against non-essential trips. Presumably then the risk is in coming into contact with others during travel.

    It’s possible for Covid-19 to be transmitted on a plane, but it’s rare in part due to HEPA air filtration and downward air flow. Maybe it’s the end of airlines blocking middle seats?

    Unaddressed here, by the way, is that the President flies private with a significant entourage, and frequently with members of the media.

  • What makes it safe for the President and Vice President to take non-essential trips is what they do when they’re on the ground (“not hosting rallies”) but that’s exactly the position the CDC is unwilling to take. They say travel is verboten, instead of advising people to take precautions and avoid crowded, poorly ventilated, indoor spaces.

President Trump got Covid and received the best possible medical care. He had access to monoclonal antibodies before they were approved for use. He recovered. The President and Vice President continue to travel, despite CDC guidance against it.

This is far from Gavin Newsom telling people not to gather indoors while dining with a group at the French Laundry, the Mayor of Denver telling people not to travel from a United Airlines gate, or the Mayor of Austin telling his citizens to stay home from a timeshare in Cabo.

Instead it points out that common sense approaches are what we’ve needed all along: avoid indoor gatherings, properly wear good quality masks, and get vaccinated as soon as possible. President Biden received his second shot of Pfizer-BioNTech on January 11 and at age 78 he’s fine to travel.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. “I would say that the president travels, as does the vice president, on a private plane,” Psaki said. “That is the purview of every president and vice president throughout American history.”

    I never knew that John Quincy Adams flew private.

  2. I’d add that on a commercial flight, no one is actually vetted beyond whether they have a recent negative COVID-19 result (if they are even doing that).

    Flying on AF1, well, it’s pretty much guaranteed everyone on board is vetted thoroughly and has a negative COVID-19 test.

    Pretty big differences; but don’t let that stop people from making dumb comparisons and trying to make a mountain out of a molehill.

  3. Hey, Swag, remember Trump explained to us that the Great American Heroes took over all the airports during the War of 1812 … ““Our army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do, and at Fort McHenry, under the rockets’ red glare, it had nothing but victory.”

  4. Gary, you know full well the difference. The actions of the presidency are considered much more important than someone going on spring break to Florida.

  5. I’m flying every week. Ignoring the CDC completely – they have been wrong on everything.

    Used to trust them, now I disregard.
    One more awful government agency

    There are much better sources for news and science facts than those government workers.

  6. Presidential duties – essential

    Hosting white nationalist-gathering super spreader rallies – not essential

  7. Have we found out whether vaccinated people can still carry and/or spread the virus?
    Can they still test positive in a PCR test?

  8. He’s practically dead already – at least his brain is. There’s no risk for a walking corpse.

  9. I am bothered by the elitism here. That it is okay to travel by private plane but not in a commercial plane. So basically, it is alright for the rich who have access to private jets to travel all that they want, while those who cannot travel should not be traveling at all.

    I am just thankful that the CDC recommendations regarding this are just recommendations and that people are not obliged to follow them.

  10. The guy is more likely to get hurt going up the steps to AF1 than he is catching COVID.

  11. Since Biden has nothing upstairs there is nothing to risk. Besides his liberal minions including big corporate make all his policy decisions for him include Obiden.

  12. Isn’t there still a testing protocol applied to flying on those flights?

    Remember the reactions here when it was said that the Biden Admin was considering a testing requirement for domestic flights too?

    The feigned outrage over Biden’s flying Air Force One would perhaps come across as being less feigned if he were flying Executive One instead of Air Force and Marine One.

  13. David,

    Biden has been vaccinated. So his chances of getting a bad case of Covid-19 are very low.

  14. Billy Bob,

    Some vaccinated people can still carry and/or spread the virus, and some can still test positive in a PCR test for it after being vaccinated against it. One of the great things about human life is that there is at least a bit of biological diversity, so not every human’s body is the same as the next fellow or guaranteed to respond exactly the same way to even a perfectly harmonized vaccination. If we were all 100% clones down to the smallest bits, the chances of the species’ evolutionary success would be lower. Not that there is much hope for humanity given all the Lord Trump-type worshippers in the world who are paranoid about threats posed by people who’s they think of as “the other” while they claim that the risks from a pandemic or climate change are a hoax.

  15. @GUWonder – “if he were flying Executive One instead of Air Force and Marine One.”

    The Secret Service would NEVER let him do that (nor should they).

  16. For weeks Gary’s been saying fully vaccinated = “time to travel” in defiance of the CDC guidelines. Well, Biden’s fully vaccinated, Gary, what’s your problem?

    Oh, and he’s the President of the United States. Of course there’s a different set of rules for him. As there should be

    This is the stupidest thing you’ve posted in quite some time. And that’s saying something

  17. Another fix new talking point. I loved this blog until you become a trumper, now I just read how shitty it is on other blogs

  18. @Gary – Sure, you did. In the very last last line of the post – after spending the whole rest of the article talking about how he’s flaunting the CDC Guidelines. And after yet another click bait headline.

    You can’t have it both ways. Stick to hawking credit cards.

  19. Funny how Gary allows Biden to be insulted and censors those of us who speak out against racism and Donald Trump.

  20. He needs to grab his audiences’ attention to drive up the audience that may be in the market for bank card signups.

    Even when I do disagree with his angle on current events (and at times everyone has disagreements to some extent or another), I think there is something to be said about learning from disagreements even as disagreements will continue to exist (and even be necessary to arrive at a better understanding and hopefully improved outcomes over the longer term.

  21. @Stanley because you never trashed Trump when he won, right? Biden’s election does not change the fact that he is mentally impared. My father is dealing with this. It’s no joke to me. He is not fit to make major decisions either.

  22. Anthony you are correct…
    as far as Biden nothing he does is essential..as he is not running our country!! so he should continue to stay in his basement at the WH or Delaware…. let Comma La handle it all as she is already doing…

  23. Interesting, all the comments from the MAGAt Trumpers on this post.

    No one said anything when Trump went on all his “essential” golf trips, or brazenly ripped his mask off when returning to the White House after his vacation at the Walter Reed National Military Hospital.

  24. @ Dee — WTF is wrong with you? Racist b^tch much? So sick of the political bullish^t in this blog. Biden won by a landslide and the criminal lost. Get over it. Let’s get back to interesting travel blogs.

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