The comment came in response to a reporter’s question about President Donald Trump’s apparent criticism of Biden for wearing a mask in public on Memorial Day. In Delaware, where the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee lives, wearing a mask in public is required by law as part of public health efforts to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
“The president’s excited to see that Joe emerged from the basement,” McEnany said at the White House press briefing. “It is a bit peculiar, though, that in his basement, right next to his wife, he’s not wearing a mask, but he’s wearing one outdoors when he’s socially distanced.”
She added that the president wasn’t “shaming anyone” and noted that Trump wore a mask in private during a tour of a Ford plant last week in Michigan. Publicly, Trump appeared barefaced for much of the tour, despite a Michigan executive order that required facial coverings to be worn in any enclosed public space.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s federal guidelines also call for people to wear cloth face coverings in public, in concert with social distancing rules. Masks are not required in the home among household members.
When Reuters reporter Jeff Mason pointed to this guidance, McEnany said that “it’s recommended but not required, so it’s the personal choice of the individual, but it didn’t strike him as a very data-driven decision.”
.@jeffmason1: POTUS retweeted a criticism of Joe Biden wearing a mask. Why would he do that?— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 26, 2020
McENANY: It's a bit peculiar that he doesn't wear a mask in his basement, but he wears one outdoors
MASON: Isn't that the guidance though?
McENANY: It's recommended but not required pic.twitter.com/gW7imNwLMn
Biden had appeared with his wife, Jill Biden, at the Delaware Memorial Bridge Veterans Memorial Park on Monday to lay a wreath, marking his first public appearance in more than two months.
Sharing an image of Biden during the outing, Fox News political analyst Brit Hume attempted to mask-shame the Democratic front-runner on Twitter ― a move that was met with swift backlash. The president then retweeted Hume’s comment.
In an interview with CNN on Tuesday, Biden called Trump an “absolute fool” for belittling his use of a mask and slammed his “macho stuff” behavior. “It’s cost people’s lives,” he said.
In response to McEnany’s remarks, a Biden spokesperson told HuffPost that Trump’s “historic disregard for the guidance of public health experts is responsible for a failed response that has led to the deaths of nearly 100,000 Americans.”
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost.