Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said climate czar John Kerry has a history of “not following” rules he imposes on Americans after a photo surfaced of the Biden official not wearing a mask on a commercial flight.
“I guess we can say it’s better that John Kerry finally decided to fly commercial as opposed to jetting around in Gulfstreams all around the world when he’s trying to supposedly solve the climate crisis,” the senator joked in an interview with “Fox News @ Night” host Shannon Bream.
He added that leaders need to “set a good example if they’re going to impose rules on the American people – they should try to follow those rules as well.”
The passenger – who asked to remain anonymous – told Fox News they saw the Biden official wearing his mask while at the boarding gate, but claimed he took it off shortly after boarding ahead of other passengers.
“Being an elite hypocrite is hard work!” the passenger said, adding the plane was mostly full.
The passenger said they did not see any of the flight attendants onboard instructing Kerry to put his mask back on, but noted that Kerry later wore it for most of the flight.
Cotton said he didn’t know all of the details around the photo and wanted to show some “grace” to Kerry and “recognize that everyone is struggling at times to put their mask on or maybe forget to put it up, I don’t know.”
But he added that Kerry “has a long record of imposing one set of rules on Americans and not following those rules as is evidenced by his jet setting around the world to try to save it from climate change when he’s burning more carbon than one person does in an entire year.”
Kerry has taken heat for flying a private jet to Iceland in 2019 to receive a climate leadership award. He defended his actions by saying in an interview it was “the only choice for somebody like me who is traveling the world to win this battle.”
Kerry responded to the maskless photo on Twitter by saying that the slip was “momentary.”
“Feels like there’s some St. Patrick’s day ‘malarkey’ afoot on Twitter,” Kerry wrote. “Let’s be clear: If I dropped my mask to one ear on a flight, it was momentary. I wear my mask because it saves lives and stops the spread. It’s what the science tells us to do.”
American Airlines said on Twitter and reiterated in a statement to Fox News that the company would be “looking into” the incident and reiterated that “masks are required” on their planes for everyone.
Fox News’ Houston Keene and Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.