WH calls federal judge’s decision to strike down mask mandate for air travel ‘disappointing’

During the White House briefing on Monday, press secretary Jen Psaki called a federal judge’s ruling to overturn a CDC mask mandate for airports, planes and other public transportation a “disappointing decision.” Psaki said there’s no update on whether the rule still remains in place, but she added the White House still recommends that individuals wear a mask on airplanes.

Video transcript

- First, a federal judge in Florida says the CDC exceeded its authority with the mask mandate in airports. That's the White House position.

JEN PSAKI: The CDC recommended continuing the order for additional time, two weeks, to be able to assess the latest science in keeping with its responsibility to protect the American people. So this is obviously a disappointing decision. The CDC continues recommending wearing a mask in public transit.

As you know, this just came out this afternoon. So right now, the Department of Homeland Security, who would be implementing, and the CDC are reviewing the decision. And of course, the Department of Justice would make any determinations about litigation.

- I want to belabor this only because we've heard from the airlines, from airport passengers. There may be people sitting in an airport bar watching right now wondering, if they're boarding a flight tonight, is the mask mandate still in place?

JEN PSAKI: We're continuing to recommend people wear masks. I don't have any update. This just came out through the courts just this afternoon. And as soon as there is an update, we will provide that to all of you.

- Is the White House anticipating an announcement by Homeland Security tonight?

JEN PSAKI: They are assessing it right now and as soon as they have an assessment and an update on additional steps, they'll make that available.

- But if the DOJ, say, doesn't stay the order tonight or first thing tomorrow morning, are passengers supposed to--

JEN PSAKI: I understand why you're asking and certainly no one here is trying to provoke uncertainty with passengers. We also think the mask mandate should be in place and that it's safer for individuals who are flying to continue to wear masks. So we would say to anyone sitting out there, we recommend you wear masks on the airplane. And then as soon as we can provide an update from here, hopefully soon, we'll provide that to all of you.

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