CNN correspondent: Hard to get 'straight answers' from Democrats on mask mandates

'It's such a hard position for Democrats after saying for years masks keep us safe'

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CNN Congressional correspondent Lauren Fox said Sunday that she had a difficult time getting answers from the Hill on whether it's time to lift mask mandates because "it's such a hard position for Democrats."

"I've got to tell you that I had a very hard time getting straight answers out of Democrats on the Hill this week as to whether or not they thought it was time to lift mask mandates because in part they're listening to their governors, in part they're listening to their constituents, in part they're looking over their shoulder as to whether or not they have a reelection or not. So many of them were like, We should follow the science,'" Fox said on CNN's "Inside Politics." 

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., meets with reporters at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., meets with reporters at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Fox said that it was "very hard to nail people down" with regard to mask mandates and that "it's such a hard position for Democrats after saying for years masks keep us safe."

"And they do keep people safe and we should highlight that, but at what point do you say omicron is not enough of a threat to people's lives anymore, that we are going to continue to live with this," she continued. 

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Zolan Kanno-Youngs, a CNN political analyst, noted that some congressional Democrats have to consider their base without running an "early mission accomplished moment."

Host Abby Phillip noted a Pew Research poll that found just half of Americans think public officials are doing a good job responding to the pandemic. 

She said that Americans are losing faith in science. Talev responded it's "no surprise why" and that America was "paralyzed" and "divided."

The panel showed a photo of Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI.) maskless as everyone around her is wearing a face covering. 

ROCHESTER, MI - DECEMBER 16: U.S. Representative Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) waits to speak at a Town Hall where she discussed her decision to vote in favor of the impeachment of President Donald Trump with her constituents on December 16, 2019 in Rochester, Michigan. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

ROCHESTER, MI - DECEMBER 16: U.S. Representative Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) waits to speak at a Town Hall where she discussed her decision to vote in favor of the impeachment of President Donald Trump with her constituents on December 16, 2019 in Rochester, Michigan. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images) (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

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"With the State of the Union coming up, here is her message to President Biden and to Democrats. She says "There are a bunch of us that are pushing the White House to really use the State of the Union as a sort of declaration of the new phase,'" Phillip said. 

President Joe Biden speaks to American service members at RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk, England, Wednesday, June 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

President Joe Biden speaks to American service members at RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk, England, Wednesday, June 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) (AP)

Jonathan Martin of the New York Times said that a lot of people in Biden's White House trace the current climate back to July, when "Biden gave something akin to a mission accomplished speech" before omicron hit. 

"And so they see that kind of rhetoric, Abby, from Slotkin, and they think we've seen this movie before. We don't want to get too premature now. Which is why Biden, you saw that clip earlier, doesn't want to quite do that yet. Because I'm telling you, the pressure from Democrats in the weeks to come is going to be so immense on this," Martin said. 

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Several Democratic-led states, including New Jersey, Delaware, California, New York, Connecticut and Oregon recently announced plans to pull back on mask mandates.