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.