Psaki explains how Biden’s kiss on Covid-positive Pelosi’s cheek was not ‘close contact’

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.

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’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.”

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:

 

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