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Did Democrats Go Maskless at a White House Event?
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Did Democrats Go Maskless at a White House Event?

It took place after the CDC released new guidance, and all congressional Democrats say they have been vaccinated.

Viral posts from popular right-wing Instagram accounts share a video of Democratic politicians including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Attorney General Merrick Garland at a White House event without masks. 

The video, taken from political news website The Recount, is from a White House event May 20 marking the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act being signed into law by President Joe Biden. The law is intended to address the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes during the coronavirus pandemic by, among other things, having the Department of Justice designate a point person to head up reviews of hate crime reports. It received wide bipartisan support, passing the House 364-62 and the Senate 94-1. Masks were not worn at the event, as the CDC released new guidance on May 13 stating that vaccinated individuals can participate in indoor and outdoor events without masks. Following the release of this guidance, the administration announced masks would not be required on White House grounds for those who have been vaccinated. A CNN survey of congressional offices found that 100 percent of congressional Democrats say they have been vaccinated. Biden received his second dose of the Pfizer vaccine in January as did Vice President Kamala Harris, who was also present at the event.

So while the Instagram post is correct—Democrats did gather without masks—it leaves out important context: Masks are no longer recommended by the CDC for those who have been vaccinated—as the Democrats say they have been—and are no longer required at the White House, where the Democrats gathered. 

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Alec Dent

Alec Dent is a former culture editor and staff writer for The Dispatch.