President Joe Biden was seen eating at the Imperfecto restaurant in Washington DC after saying he had a cold during a cough-riddled speech Friday.
Although photos show him walking out of the restaurant without a mask, a BBC correspondent said colleague claimed he saw Biden inside not wearing one.
The BBC’s Tara McKelvey tweeted, ‘I was with the press pool, and we waited outside Imperfecto restaurant for him. My colleague says he saw him inside the restaurant through a window, and the president was not wearing a mask. Outside, in front of the cameras, he wore one.’
Washington had lifted its indoor mask mandate last week, but the White House has said indoor masking regulations should return amid the rise of the COVID Omicron variant in the US.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has insisted that the president is following proper COVID-19 protocols and will be forging ahead with all public appearances, which includes an outing to the 44th Annual Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime artistic achievements on Sunday.
She said Biden was tested for COVID more often than usual this week – three times – because of his cold symptoms.
‘He’s taken over-the-counter cold medication and probably some cough drops and some tea,’ Psaki said.
Kevin O’Conner, Biden’s doctor, said in a statement about the president’s health, ‘As is readily apparent, the president is experiencing some increased nasal congestion this week. This can be heard in his voice and he is feeling the colloquially well-known ‘frog in one’s throat.”
‘Investigation has included a comprehensive respiratory panel which includes 19 common respiratory pathogens, to include COVID-19, other coronaviruses, influenza, streptococcus, to name a few… all of these tests were negative.’
When asked about his cold, Biden said, ‘What I have is a one and a half-year-old grandson who likes to kiss his pop,’ referencing the fact that he might have gotten sick through his grandson, Beau Jr.