Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary, claimed Thursday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tested positive for coronavirus. She kissed President Biden on his cheek and held his hand, but this did not constitute “close contact” according to the White House.
“How are you guys able to say that President Biden had not been in close contact with Speaker Pelosi, when there is video of him kissing the speaker?” Fox News’ Peter Doocy questioned Psaki Thursday.
Psaki replied, using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention definition for “close contact”: “Their definition is 15 minutes of contact within an established period of time, within 6 feet.” It did not meet this bar.
A spokesperson for Pelosi announced that the San Francisco Democrat tested positive to the coronavirus after being spotted kissing Biden on the cheek and embracing him during an Affordable Care Act event at the White House East Room on Tuesday.
Conservatives on social media mocked Psaki for suggesting that the 79-year old Biden wasn’t at risk of contracting the coronavirus by not being within six feet for fifteen minutes.
“So Jen Psaki’s main argument in this briefing was that, even if someone with COVID sneezed directly at Joe Biden it wouldn’t be a close contact because the sneeze lasted no more than 15 minutes,” Heritage Foundation Communications Director John Cooper tweeted.
Matt Whitlock, a GOP spokesperson, tweeted that “Psaki defends this cites CDC’s guidance for ’15 minutes’.” “Two elderly and vulnerable people can kiss one another on the face, but it’s not close contact. But they still put masks on children outside of New York.”
Fox News Digital asked the CDC to clarify whether kissing on the cheeks is close contact, which could lead to concern about the spread of the coronavirus. The CDC did however not respond immediately.