Don’t do as I do, do as my boss says you should do. 

That could be former U.S. Sen. John Kerry’s motto today after he was photographed mask-less while reading a book in his first class seat aboard an American Airlines flight this week from Boston to Washington, D.C.

On Twitter, Kerry, who is now the administration’s special climate envoy, dismissed being outed in a photo that went viral on social media as just some St. Patrick’s Day “malarkey.” He added that “if I dropped my mask to one ear on a flight, it was momentary.”

He then swore that he wears a mask “because it saves lives and stops the spread. It’s what the science tells us to do.” Not to mention it’s what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requires before, during and after flights on airlines.

Or what his boss, President Joe Biden, has been hammering home almost since day one. 

Just last week Biden said, “We need everyone to get vaccinated. We need everyone to keep washing their hands, stay socially distanced, and keep wearing the masks as recommended by the CDC.”

The Boston Herald said American Airlines said masks are “required on board our aircraft” and if Kerry flies with them again, airline staff would remind him to keep his mask on. 

In a similar vein, Tom Mountain, the vice chair of the Massachusetts Republican State Committee, took to the Boston Globe op-ed page Thursday to recount his cavalier behavior in December in attending a mostly mask-less party at the White House at which he contracted COVID-19.

“I never thought I’d get COVID-19, of course. But I did,” he wrote. “Arrogance and carelessness took over. I failed to heed the simplest of precautions, such as wearing a mask and socially distancing. And I paid the price, as did my family.”

Behaving recklessly and contracting the virus that has killed more than 537,000 Americans apparently taught Mountain a lesson, one he carried forth in the op-ed column. Get the vaccine as soon as you can, he wrote. Don’t be arrogant and don’t put other people at risk.

Letting your guard down – which Kerry says he did only for a moment – could not only lead to embarrassing coverage, but contribute to the spread of a potentially fatal virus. Word to the wise: Wear a mask.

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