Presidential climate envoy John Kerry on Wednesday denied removing his mask intended to protect against the spread of coronavirus for a lengthy period during a flight earlier in the day after a photo surfaced that appeared to show him aboard a plane without a mask on.
Kerry said in a tweet Wednesday evening that if he had dropped his mask to one ear in flight, “it was momentary.”
“I wear my mask because it saves lives and stops the spread,” he added. “It’s what the science tells us to do.”
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.
— Special Presidential Envoy John Kerry (@ClimateEnvoy) March 17, 2021
According to The Tennessee Star, who first published the image, the photo was snapped aboard an American Airlines flight en route to Washington, D.C. from Boston. An anonymous passenger later told Fox News they saw Kerry wearing his mask while at the flight’s boarding gate, but claimed he removed it shortly after boarding.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK) who once claimed that the novel coronavirus may have been originated in a lab, and has been seen without a mask himself on Capitol Hill, seized the moment to chastise the Biden official for the apparent lapse.
He suggested that leaders should “set a good example” if they’re going to impose rules on the American people, suggesting “they should try to follow those rules as well.”
“I don’t know all of the circumstances here. But John Kerry has a long record of imposing one set of rules on Americans and not following those rules,” Cotton said.
American Airlines spokesperson Stacy Day said in a statement obtained by USA TODAY that cabin crew “did not observe Secretary Kerry without a mask, and they were not alerted by other customers to a non-compliance issue.”
“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,” she added.