John Kerry, 77, defended himself on Twitter after he was was spotted without a mask in the first class section of a flight from Boston to Washington D.C., claiming he the incident was only ‘momentary.’
‘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,’ Kerry tweeted.
‘I wear my mask because it saves lives and stops the spread. It’s what the science tells us to do.’
American Airlines has also said it is investigating after Kerry, the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, was Kerry was spotted without a mask.
Masks are required on flights, according to a directive from the Transportation Security Administration – and those who are found in violation can face fines ranging from $250 for the first offense up to $1,500 for repeat offenders.
Donald Trump Jr. posted a tweet calling out the administration’s Climate Czar for ‘flouting’ the President Joe Biden‘s federal mask mandate while sharing a photo of the Democrat sitting on a plane without a face mask.
The damaging picture was first posted by conservative outlet the Tennessee Star and shows the former secretary of state wearing his mask hanging off one ear while reading a book in first class.
Donald Trump Jr. tweeted that John Kerry is a ‘hypocrite’ after he was pictured not wearing a mask on a flight
Kerry, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, has not yet addressed the damaging image
Kerry, 77, has since defended himself on Twitter calling the news ‘St. Patrick’s day “malarkey”‘
An anonymous passenger who shared the image with Fox News and the Tennessee Star told the outlets that they saw Kerry wearing his mask before boarding but he took it off shortly after getting on the flight before other passengers.
The passenger told Fox News that flight attendants were not seen instructing Kerry to put his mask back on – but admitted that he later wore it for the rest of the roughly 90-minute flight.
In January, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an order requiring travelers to wear masks to prevent spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.
‘Conveyance operators must also require all persons onboard to wear masks when boarding, disembarking, and for the duration of travel,’ the release for the order reads.
‘This Order must be followed by all passengers.’
The day before the order went into effect on February 2, American Airlines issued a statement noting that the company would update its own policies to meet the requirements of the CDC and Transportation Security Administration.
David Seymour, the company’s Chief Operating Officer, said: ‘Our mask requirement has been and will continue to be a critical component of our comprehensive effort to protect the health and well-being of our customers and team members during the pandemic.’
‘This federal mandate will provide additional support to our crew members who are working diligently to enforce our policy and further reinforce the safety of air travel during COVID-19,’ he added.
Meanwhile, Trump Jr. on Wednesday called Kerry a ‘liberal hypocrite.’
‘His mask is off & he isn’t eating or drinking. Will he be fined for breaking the law & banned from flying @AmericanAir like regular citizens would be?’
The airline said on Twitter that ‘masks are required on board.’
The TSA said its mask mandates will remain in effect until May 11, 2021.
‘We are looking into this,’ the airline tweeted in response to the original post.
‘TSA will fully comply with the President’s Executive Orders, CDC guidance and the DHS National Emergency determination to ensure healthy and secure travel across all transportation sectors,’ said Darby LaJoye, Senior Official performing the duties of the TSA Administrator.
‘This will help prevent further spread of COVID-19 and encourage a unified government response.’