The White House said Tuesday that they are not characterizing the trip Texas Democrats made to Washington as a “super-spreader” event, as more officials who attended the meeting test positive for COVID-19.
Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy on Tuesday asked White House press secretary Jen Psaki if the event was considered a “super-spreader,” saying that “more than 10%” of the traveling Texas Democrats have tested positive.
“That is not a characterization we’re making here,” Psaki said, referring to the “super-spreader” term. “Vaccines are not foolproof. We know vaccines – I think these individuals have been vaccinated. That is a good sign.”
The news of the breakthrough cases comes after six members of the Texas delegation tested positive for the virus after leaving the state capital and coming to Washington last week in an attempt to thwart a special legislative session where Republicans seek to pass new election reforms.
Doocy asked what the White House’s message was to Texas Democrats after the meeting.
“Our message continues to be, ‘thanks for standing up for voting rights,’” Psaki said.
Doocy pressed Psaki on whether President Biden supports mask mandates being reinstated in states across the nation.
“It is not what we’re instituting from the federal government,” Psaki said, adding that “nothing has changed with guidance for the American public,” noting that vaccinated individuals do not need to wear masks or face coverings, while officials recommend that unvaccinated individuals wear masks.
“Anything we determine will be guided by medical experts,” Psaki said.
Psaki’s comments come after a White House official and a staffer for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., tested positive for COVID-19.
“In accordance with our rigorous COVID-19 protocols, the official remains off campus as they wait for the a confirmatory PCR test,” a White House official said. “The White House Medical Unit has conducted contact tracing interviews and determined no close contacts among White House principals and staff. The individual has mild symptoms.”
The official added that the administration knows “that there will be breakthrough cases, but as this instance shows, cases in vaccinated individuals are typically mild.”
“The White House is prepared for breakthrough cases with regular testing,” the official said. “This is another reminder of the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines against severe illness or hospitalization.”
The official added: “We wish our colleague a speedy recovery.”
Vice President Kamala Harris met with members of the Texas delegation last Tuesday, but she’s since tested negative for COVID-19, Psaki confirmed on Monday.
“I think the vice president’s office put out that she was tested and there was no detection of COVID-19,” Psaki said. “They also put out some specific details about their proximity to the individuals who tested positive as well. We take these precautions incredibly seriously and abide by the guidance of our help and medical experts.”
Meanwhile, Drew Hammill, a top aide to Pelosi, said the unidentified staff member was fully vaccinated and did not have recent contact with the top California Democrat, though the speaker’s office is taking extra precautions as a result.
“Yesterday, a fully vaccinated senior spokesperson in the speaker’s press office tested positive for COVID after contact with members of the Texas state legislature last week,” Hammill said in a statement obtained by Fox News.
“This individual has had no contact with the speaker since exposure. The entire press office is working remotely today with the exception of individuals who have had no exposure to the individual or have had a recent negative test. Our office will continue to follow the guidance of the Office of Attending Physician closely.”
On Tuesday, Pelosi and her staff were spotted wearing masks again at the Capitol. Following a loosening of mask restrictions by the Capitol physician, many members have opted against masks in recent weeks.