John Kerry, the nation’s special climate envoy, has been caught with his mask down.
The former Massachusetts senator and Democratic presidential nominee was seen without a mask while reading on an American Airlines Boston-to-DC flight Wednesday in violation of a host of mask mandates from the CDC to his boss, President Biden.
“We continue to review the matter and we are reaching out to Secretary Kerry to underscore that all customers are expected to wear masks for the duration of their trip,” an American Airlines spokeswoman told the Herald.
Kerry’s Climate Communications team promised a response, then pointed to a tweet where the global warming czar said the unmasking was “malarkey.”
“Feels like there’s some St. Patrick’s day ‘malarkey’ afoot on Twitter,” Kerry tweeted from his @ClimateEnvoy feed Wednesday night. “Let’s be clear: If I dropped my mask to one ear on a flight, it was momentary. I wear my mask because it saves lives and stops the spread. It’s what the science tells us to do.”
The Tennessee Star, which first broke the story, reported Kerry was “not eating, nor drinking,” in his first-class seat just before takeoff from Logan International Airport.
@TheTNStar Exclusive: Biden’s @ClimateEnvoy John Kerry, took off his mask as he settled into a book in his first-class seat just before takeoff today on an @AmericanAir flight Boston to DC. He was not eating, nor drinking. He was simply flaunting Biden’s mandatory mask policy. pic.twitter.com/t1wDq9OtxD
— ReporterMcCabe (@NeilWMcCabe2) March 17, 2021
Masks are required before, during and after flights, according to the airlines, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and even Biden.
“We need everyone to get vaccinated. We need everyone to keep washing their hands, stay socially distanced, and keep wearing the masks as recommended by the CDC,” Biden said in his address to the nation last week.
The CDC ordered on Jan. 29 that all passengers in U.S. transportation hubs must “wear masks when boarding, disembarking, and for the duration of travel” on airplanes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis and ride-shares.
Dr. David Hamer, director of the Travel Clinic at Boston Medical Center and professor of global health at Boston University, said anyone ditching a mask while traveling — even if they have been vaccinated — is asking for trouble.
“Being vaccinated is not a passport to do anything you want,” Hamer said. “We still need to be cautious until the transmission levels go to a very low level.”
He said vaccinated people, likely including Kerry since he’s in Biden’s inner circle, can still spread the virus and possibly catch it, too.
“We still have a lot of COVID out there,” Hamer added. “The most important safety measure is to wear a mask.”
Kerry’s apparent cavalier attitude was extreme enough to have a fellow passenger snap his photo. It also sparked a twitter storm with Donald Trump Jr. posting: “SPOTTED: Liberal hypocrite & Biden Admin official @JohnKerry flouting @JoeBiden’s Federal mask mandate.”
American Airlines added in a late-night follow-up that masks are “required on board our aircraft” and “the crew did not observe Secretary Kerry without a mask, and they were not alerted by other customers to a non-compliance issue.” But, they are going to remind Kerry of masks needing to remain on all the time.
The passenger seated next to him, the photo shows, was wearing a mask.
Howie Carr and Alexi Cohan contributed.
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