John Kerry was pictured on a plane with no mask, and American Airlines said he shouldn’t have taken it off

John Kerry
US climate envoy John Kerry in Paris in March 2021.

  • A passenger photographed John Kerry on an American Airlines flight without a mask.
  • The passenger told Fox News he took it off after boarding but wore it for most of the flight.
  • Kerry said if he removed it, he only did so briefly, but American said it is “looking into” it.
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John Kerry, the former US secretary of state and President Joe Biden’s climate envoy, was pictured on an American Airlines flight not wearing a mask.

A photo obtained by The Tennessee Star’s Neil W. McCabe shows Kerry sitting and reading on a plane, with a mask hanging from one ear, on a Wednesday flight from Boston to Washington D.C.

Kerry said that if he removed his mask, he did so in a way that was “momentary.”

American Airlines said it did not see Kerry without his mask but said that he should not have removed it and is “looking into” the incident.

Fox News confirmed the photo with the passenger who took it. It reported that the passenger, who wanted to remain anonymous, shared a photo of his boarding pass to prove he was on the same flight as Kerry.

The passenger said he took it off shortly before boarding and kept it off for five minutes, but he wore it at the boarding gate and for most of the flight.

Kerry said on Twitter: “Feels like there’s some St. Patrick’s day ‘malarkey’ afoot on Twitter.”

“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.”

American Airlines says masks can “only can be removed briefly for eating and drinking” and are otherwise mandatory.

The Tennessee Star reported that Kerry “was not eating, nor drinking, even though first-class passengers are often served before take-off,” though the newspaper did not say how it had this information.

American Airlines said on Twitter in response to the photo: “Masks are required on board our aircraft, and we are looking into this.”

And it told The Independent: “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,” it said.

The passenger who took the photo told Fox News: “If five minutes is ‘momentarily,’ he’s correct. Not sure being in a plane without a mask for five minutes is excusable.”

Biden signed an executive order in January that requires people to wear masks on planes in the US.

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Biden condemns Texas and Mississippi for ending mask mandates, calling it ‘a big mistake’ and ‘Neanderthal thinking’

biden face mask
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden holds up a face mask at The Queen theater on October 28, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware.

  • President Biden said Texas and Mississippi lifting their mask mandates was “a big mistake” and a result of “Neanderthal thinking.” 
  • Federal health officials are urging Americans to continue wearing masks in public, social distancing, and washing their hands. 
  • The Republican governors of Iowa, Montana, and North Dakota all ended their states’ mask mandates earlier this year.
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President Joe Biden on Wednesday called recent decisions in Texas and Mississippi to defy federal public health guidance and lift their face mask mandates “a big mistake” and a result of “Neanderthal thinking.” 

On Tuesday, Texas became the largest state to end its state-wide mask mandate and Mississippi lifted its county-specific mask mandates after ending its state order in September. 

“I hope everyone’s realized by now these masks make a difference,” Biden told reporters in the Oval Office. “The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime everything’s fine, take off your mask — forget it. It still matters.” 

He added that it’s “critical, critical, critical that they follow the science: wash your hands — hot water, do it frequently — wear a mask, and stay socially distanced. I know you all know that, I wish to heck some of our elected officials knew it.”

Several states have loosened their COVID-19 mitigation policies in recent weeks and months. The Republican governors of Iowa, Montana, and North Dakota all ended their states’ mask mandates earlier this year. While North Carolina, Michigan, Louisiana, Arkansas, Massachusetts, Chicago, and San Francisco have begun easing restrictions on indoor dining and other activities, they’ve kept their state-wide mask orders in place. 

Federal health officials are urging Americans to continue wearing masks in public, social distancing, and washing their hands. 

“At this level of cases, with variants spreading, we stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained,” Rochelle Walensky, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said this week. “Now is not the time to relax the critical safeguards that we know can stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.”

 

 

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez accuses GOP leader Kevin McCarthy of ‘losing control’ of his party as Marjorie Taylor Greene provokes backlash

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) arrives for a hearing before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on August 24, 2020
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) arrives for a hearing before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on August 24, 2020

  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez accused GOP Rep. Kevin McCarthy of “losing control of his caucus.”
  • Ocasio-Cortez was referring to GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has sparked widespread condemnation.
  • Greene has promoted a slew of conspiracy theories, including election disinformation. 
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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Friday accused Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of “losing control of his caucus” after Democratic Rep. Cori Bush said GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene “berated” her in a Capitol hallway without a mask on. 

Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that McCarthy “has a responsibility to ensure his members do not harm others.” Bush, a Missouri freshman and Black Lives Matter organizer, tweeted earlier on Friday that she was moving offices to be farther away from Greene to protect her staff’s safety.

“He is losing control of his caucus & allowing these threats to go unchecked, while looking the other way as members like @CoriBush feel so unsafe that she must move offices just 3 weeks into her 1st term,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote. 

Following up to that tweet, she added: “Moving offices is a huge and disruptive effort. Honestly it shouldn’t even be Rep. Bush that has to move and endure all this, it should be Greene – she is the one that posing a threat to others around her.”

Bush, Ocasio-Cortez, and some other Democrats are calling to expel Greene and other GOP members who spread election disinformation and helped incite the Capitol siege earlier this month.  

In a video Greene posted on Friday that appeared to show her January 13 encounter with Bush, the Democrat can be heard yelling at Greene to put on her mask. Greene, whose nose and mouth were exposed despite strict rules requiring face coverings in Congress, pulled a mask over her face and yelled back at Bush that she was a “hypocrite” for bringing “COVID positive members in here.”

Someone else with Greene is heard saying to Bush: “Stop inciting violence with Black Lives Matter.” 

It’s unclear what “COVID positive members” Greene was referring to or why she accused Bush of “being a hypocrite.”

A spokesman for Greene didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. 

 

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Head of White House security office has his right foot amputated due to severe COVID-19 and is facing ‘staggering medical bills,’ new report says

trump mask white house rally coronavirus
President Donald Trump takes off his face mask as he comes out on a White House balcony to speak to supporters gathered on the South Lawn in Washington, October 10, 2020.

  • The head of the White House security office, Crede Bailey, had a part of his lower right leg and the big toe on his left foot amputated during an ongoing battle with COVID-19, Bloomberg reported Monday. 
  • Bailey has been hospitalized with a severe case of coronavirus for three months, but is reportedly recovering from the illness. 
  • Friends of Bailey’s have raised over $35,000 through a GoFundMe campaign to help pay for his rehabilitation and “staggering” healthcare costs.
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Crede Bailey, who heads the White House security office, lost part of lower right leg, including his foot, and a toe on his left foot during a monthslong battle with COVID-19, Bloomberg reported Monday. 

Bailey, whose office handles White House credentials and works with the Secret Service, contracted the coronavirus in September and has been hospitalized for three months, but is reportedly recovering from the illness. 

Friends of Bailey’s have raised more than $35,000 through a GoFundMe campaign to help pay for his rehabilitation and healthcare.

“Crede beat COVID-19 but it came at a significant cost: his big toe on his left foot as well as his right foot and lower leg had to be amputated,” Dawn McCrobie, a friend who organized the fundraiser, wrote last week, Bloomberg reported.

A White House spokesperson declined to comment about Bailey’s condition to Business Insider and Bloomberg reported that Bailey’s family requested that the White House not publicly acknowledge his illness. 

Last month, McCrobie wrote that Bailey’s “family has staggering medical bills from a hospital stay of 2+ months and still counting in the ICU and a long road ahead in rehab before he can go home.” She added that Bailey will need to pay for a slew of physical alterations in his home and a car that he can operate to accommodate his disability. 

Dozens of top administration officials and people tied to the White House have contracted COVID-19 and President Donald Trump has consistently downplayed the threat the virus poses. The president, who himself contracted the virus and was hospitalized for several days, has told Americans not to “be afraid of COVID,” mocked those who wear face masks, and condemned aggressive state measures taken to slow the spread of the virus. 

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