Joe Biden Broke His Own Mask Mandate on First Day of His Presidency

Joe Biden's team said there are "bigger issues to worry about" after the president was briefly seen without a mask at the Lincoln Memorial after signing an executive order mandating the wearing of them on federal grounds.

Biden was seen not covering his face while giving an address to the public at the foot of the memorial in Washington D.C. with his family on Wednesday, January 20.

The president went without a mask for the address just hours after he signed a mandate requiring masks on federal property as well as interstate travelers in order to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

Biden did wear a mask immediately prior to the address and put one back on as soon as he finished. His family also wore masks at other times while at the Lincoln Memorial.

When pressed about it at a news conference, White House press secretary Jennifer Psaki said Biden was at the memorial "celebrating an evening of a historic day in our country."

Psaki added: "Certainly he signed the mask mandate because it's a way to send a message to the American public about the importance of wearing masks, how it can save tens of thousands of lives.

"We take a number of COVID precautions in terms of testing, social distancing, mask wearing ourselves, as we do every single day."

— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) January 21, 2021

Fox News' Peter Doocy asked since Biden often talks about the importance of the "power of our example" whether the president was setting a good example by not wearing a mask on federal grounds while signing orders ensuring others do.

"The power of his example is also the message he sends by signing 25 executive orders, including almost half of them related to COVID; the requirements that we're all under every single day here to ensure we're sending that message to the public," Psaki replied.

"We take a number of precautions...I think we have bigger issues to worry about at this moment in time."

The White House has been contacted for further comment.

Biden has frequently worn masks in public since amid the COVID-19 outbreak, which his predecessor Donald Trump even mocked him for during the televised debates.

Biden immediately made trying to control the virus which has killed more than 400,000 in the U.S. alone one of his main priorities upon entering the White House.

"Wearing masks isn't a partisan issue—it's a patriotic act that can save countless lives. That's why I signed an executive order today issuing a mask mandate on federal property. It's time to mask up, America," Biden tweeted on Wednesday night.

"We don't have a second to waste when it comes to getting this virus under control. That's why today, I'll be signing executive actions to expand testing, administer vaccines, and safely reopen schools and businesses."

President Joe Biden speaks during the "Celebrating America" inaugural program at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2021, after being sworn in at the U.S. Capitol earlier in the day. The White House said there are "bigger issues to worry about" after the president was briefly seen without a mask at the Lincoln Memorial just hours after he signed his mask mandate. JOSHUA ROBERTS/POOL/AFP/Getty