White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki took a shot at newly-sworn in Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin over his executive order that allows parents to opt-out of mandatory masking in their children’s schools.
The order goes into effect on January 24 and does not prevent parents from masking their children if they choose to do so.
“The parents of any child enrolled in an elementary or secondary school or a school-based early childcare and educational program may elect for their children not to be subject to any mask mandate in effect at the child’s school or educational program,” the order states.
Some school districts in the blue areas of the state, including Arlington, where Psaki lives, are pushing back against the order.
In a statement on Saturday, Arlington County said that they will “continue to require all staff and students to wear masks inside on school grounds and on buses, as part of our layered approach to safety.”
The defiance was publicly applauded by the White House press secretary, who also took a shot at the governor in a tweet.
“Hi there,” Psaki tweeted from her personal account . “Arlington [County] parent here (don’t believe you are @GlennYoungkin but correct me if I am wrong). Thank you to @APSVirginia for standing up for our kids, teachers and administrators and their safety in the midst of a transmissible variant.”
Hi there. Arlington county parent here (don’t believe you are @GlennYoungkin but correct me if I am wrong). Thank you to @APSVirginia for standing up for our kids, teachers and administrators and their safety in the midst of a transmissible variant. https://t.co/6UeNIYoZCU
— Jen Psaki (@jrpsaki) January 17, 2022
The tweet was met with scorn and mockery from those who support the executive order.
“I have read the order and Jen is welcome to do for her child as she pleases,” CNN’s Mary Katharine Ham tweeted. “Given that the effective masks are fitted N95s, she definitely doesn’t need to worry about my kids if her kid has the good gear.”
Jen, if for some reason you want to mask your children, you are still free to do so. This isn’t a ban on masks, this is a ban on *forced masking* of children against other parents’ wishes.
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) January 17, 2022
Conservative pundit Mollie Hemingway added, “Jen, if for some reason you want to mask your children, you are still free to do so. This isn’t a ban on masks, this is a ban on *forced masking* of children against other parents’ wishes.”
Fox News reports, “Psaki was hit with an ethics complaint in October when she appeared to advocate for Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the Virginia governor’s race, saying, ‘We’re going to do everything we can to help former Governor McAuliffe, and we believe in the agenda he’s representing.’ An ethics watchdog said Psaki’s comments appeared to have violated the Hatch Act, which forbids officials from using their ‘official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election.'”