Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry was photographed on Wednesday sitting in an airplane without a mask over his face.
Kerry, who appears to be reading in the photo, was in first class aboard an American Airlines flight prior to take off, according to the Tennessee Star.
Kerry on Wednesday night released a statement addressing the matter: "Feels like there’s some St. Patrick’s day 'malarkey' afoot on Twitter. 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," Kerry tweeted.
Fox News reported that the photo was captured by another passenger and the outlet said that it had verified "the photo's authenticity with the passenger, who wished to remain anonymous. The passenger shared a photo of his boarding pass with Fox News to confirm he was on the flight." The outlet said that the photo "shows the former secretary of state wearing his mask hanging off one ear as he reads a book in first class."
The outlet reported that the passenger said he witnessed Kerry wearing a mask at the boarding gate, but that Kerry removed it after boarding ahead of other fliers and then later wore the mask for most of the trip.
"Masks are required on board our aircraft, and we are looking into this," American Airlines tweeted about the photo.
"I salute our Very Special Presidential Envoy for Climate for not flying private, but instead flying first class commercial with the rest of us common folk," the passenger said, according to Fox News. "And while he can't bring himself to follow his own party's mask restrictions, we should cut him some slack." The passenger also said: "Being an elite hypocrite is hard work!"