Walsh gets COVID-19 vaccine as cabinet nominee
Mayor’s office mum on details
BOSTON MAYOR MARTY WALSH has yet to be confirmed as President Biden’s labor secretary, but he has already been accorded one privilege of his cabinet nomination: vaccination against COVID-19.
Walsh’s office confirmed late Thursday that the mayor was vaccinated this week.
On Tuesday, the office of Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, who has been nominated to be commerce secretary, announced that she received the first dose of the Moderna vaccine. Raimondo “received her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as part of a federal effort to vaccinate cabinet nominees and those in the presidential line of succession,” spokesperson Audrey Lucas said in a news release, according to the Providence Journal.
Walsh’s office was asked on Wednesday whether he, too, received a vaccine because of his cabinet nomination.
Both Walsh and Raimondo have been inaccessible to the press for questions since their nominations. The information clamp down now seems to extend to the release of information as straightforward as when Walsh was vaccinated and other details of his immunization.
Raimondo’s office said she was administered the vaccine by a member of the Rhode Island National Guard at a vaccination site in Cranston.
A First Amendment rights organization sent a letter on Tuesday to Raimondo asking her to resume media briefings, including taking questions from reporters, as she had been doing throughout the pandemic. The Associated Press reported that Raimondo has held only one press briefing since her nomination, and took no questions at the end of it. The letter to her office was sent by the New England First Amendment Coalition and was endorsed by the director of the New England Newspaper & Press Association.
“While your nomination to President-elect Biden’s Cabinet is a great honor that carries with it certain responsibilities, these must not be prioritized over your duties as governor,” said the letter. “Making yourself available for questioning by journalists — who serve as a proxy to the public — is one of those duties.”
Walsh held a press briefing a week ago, his first since being nominated to the cabinet, but also took no questions.It’s unclear whether the Biden administration has explicitly instructed Walsh and Raimondo not to take questions from reporters while their nominations are pending. Walsh has regularly held press briefings throughout the pandemic and answered questions following them.
The presidential line of succession begins with the vice president, followed by the House speaker and the president pro tempore of the Senate. It then runs through the entire cabinet, beginning with the secretaries of state, treasury, and defense.