Jill Biden says she felt ‘naked’ without her mask on charm-offensive flight with Manchin

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First lady Jill Biden joked Thursday that she felt “naked” without a mask in observance of new government guidelines, as she arrived in West Virginia on a flight with key Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III.

Mr. Manchin told reporters in Charleston that the new maskless guidance from the Centers for Disease Control should mean that “everybody get[s] vaccinated.”

“Then you’ll feel free. We felt free, for the first time,” Mr. Manchin said, referring to the maskless flight from Washington.

Mrs. Biden commented with a laugh, “We felt naked, right?”

“We felt free,” Mr. Manchin said, smiling.

“I didn’t mean it THAT way,” Mrs. Biden said.

The White House deployed Mrs. Biden and actress Jennifer Garner to West Virginia in President Biden’s latest effort to woo Mr. Manchin.

The centrist Democrat is a pivotal vote needed for Mr. Biden’s tax-raising and spending plans in the 50-50 Senate. Also on the flight was the senator’s wife, Gayle, the newly sworn-in chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission, who was appointed by Mr. Biden to the $160,000-a-year post.

They flew with the First Lady on a government plane from Washington. They were joined in Charleston by Ms. Garner, who grew up in West Virginia, to promote COVID-19 vaccinations for adolescents.

Mrs. Biden’s press secretary, Michael LaRosa, said in all apparent seriousness that the first lady’s office invited Mr. Manchin on the flight because West Virginia is his home state.

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