House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tested positive for Covid-19, with a spokesman saying the 82-year-old lawmaker, who is vaccinated and double-boosted, is asymptomatic and will quarantine.
There was immediate concern about President Biden, who was in close contact with Speaker Pelosi on Wednesday during a signing ceremony for the Postal Service Reform Act — or so we thought.
Despite there being video of Pelosi standing right next to the president, with neither wearing masks and footage of the Democratic lawmaker kissing him on the cheek the previous day, outgoing White House press secretary Jen Psaki assured the nation that there was no close contact between the two leaders.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) April 7, 2022
Leave it to Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy to introduce a little reality to the situation, asking at Thursday’s press briefing, “How can you guys say that President Biden was not a close contact with Speaker Pelosi when there is video of the Speaker kissing him?”
Unbeknownst to Psaki, in answering the question she essentially exposed just how off-base the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can be.
“Well, Peter, the way that it is defined is by the Center for Disease Control — the CDC. And their definition of it is 15 minutes of contact within a set period of time within six feet. It did not meet that bar,” Psaki said. “It doesn’t mean that no one will get COVID around the world who does not have a close contact. It just means we are defining, for all of you, whether the President and their interaction met the definition of the CDC of a close contact.”
Doocy: "How can you guys say that President Biden was not a close contact with speaker Pelosi when there's video of the speaker kissing him?"
Psaki: The CDC's "definition of it is 15 minutes of contact within a set period of time, within six feet. It did not meet that bar." pic.twitter.com/T7U8kE5EoR
— Washington Free Beacon (@FreeBeacon) April 7, 2022
Doocy’s question was a follow up to an earlier remark from the president’s spokesperson.
“For clarity purposes, what — the way a ‘close contact’ is defined — it’s not arbitrary. It’s not something made up by the White House. It’s CDC guidelines,” Psaki said. “And how they define it is being within six feet for a cumulative total of 15 minutes over a 24-hour period. That — they were not. All of their interactions were publicly available; I think you saw them. And that’s how that assessment is made.”
But according to them this is not close enough Contact to get Covid? So that means they can kiss you and touch your face hand with their face but you better do as they say? Acre them! pic.twitter.com/Yd7KEE8wR2
— Mr. Potato Head (@America1Scotty) April 8, 2022
So there you have it. Close contact is not about distance but about time. An assessment so ridiculous that even the late night television hosts who’ve been reliable Biden allies ridiculed it.
“Now, everybody’s wondering if Pelosi might have transmitted it to other people after she was infected, including those other people, the president, but the White House said that Biden tested negative last night, and was not considered a ‘close contact’ of Pelosi,” Stephen Colbert said. “Really? Not a close contact? Because yesterday when she was there for a bill signing, she was right next to the president, and on Tuesday, Pelosi and the president gave each other a couple pecks on the cheek! Evidently, the White House does not consider it a close contact unless there’s tongue.”
As disturbing as that prospect is, leave it to Jimmy Kimmel to go full gutter: “The White House isn’t worried, they claim she’s not considered a ‘close contact.’ If that’s not a close contact, what are they waiting for? Full penetration? That’s a close contact.”
Here’s a quick sampling of responses to the story from Twitter:
The White House says this is not "close contact." pic.twitter.com/LExI64tct8
— Tom Bevan (@TomBevanRCP) April 7, 2022
So basically Jen Psaki’s argument in this briefing is that if a person with COVID sneezed directly on Joe Biden, he wouldn’t be a “close contact” because the sneeze lasted less than 15 minutes.
— John Cooper (@thejcoop) April 7, 2022
Psaki defending this cites the CDC’s guidance of “15 minutes.”
Two highly vulnerable geriatrics can kiss each-other on the face and it’s not a “close contact” but they’re still putting masks on children outside in New York? https://t.co/9ZKS8emYuN
— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) April 7, 2022
Apparently the WH is redefining “close contact” to be only people you have an intimate relationship with. https://t.co/l24T7n7AAp
— Alex Meshkin, GED (@alexmeshkin) April 7, 2022
Okay, I get it now. Covid transmission is entirely defined by time? Alright, we’ll go with that. Seems legit. 🥴🙄
— Tina Marie (@tmariephotog) April 7, 2022
She’s parroting, ignoring the obvious.
Come to think of it, she looks a bit like a parrot.
That response is so amazing. It’s like she’s mentally left the job already. That must be it.
— iHAVEaDREAM (@BeColorblind) April 7, 2022
This reminds me so much of the Bill Clinton “is” reply: “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is…”
— Liz Dotson (@LizzyDccc) April 7, 2022
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