During a visit to Walter Reed National Medical Center on Saturday, President Donald Trump was seen wearing a face mask at the public event for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March.
“I think when you’re in a hospital, especially in that particular setting, where you’re talking to a lot of soldiers and people that, in some cases, just got off the operating tables, I think it’s a great thing to wear a mask,” Trump told reporters. “I’ve never been against masks, but I do believe they have a time and a place.”
Military personnel, Secret Service agents and White House staff also wore masks. White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said Trump also wore a mask at the hospital when he talked with wounded veterans. He didn’t wear one, however, when he spoke to reporters outside the White House before leaving for Walter Reed.
Trump has not been seen wearing a face mask in public and told the Wall Street Journal that some people wore facial coverings as a political statement to show their disapproval of him.
In late May, a photo emerged in the media showing of the president wearing a mask during his visit to Ford plant in Michigan, as the plant required all visitors to wear masks. Trump did so – in private – and didn’t wear it during a roundtable discussion and a press conference. He said he “didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it.”
Trump also commented on Biden wearing a mask while speaking to his audience, saying it was not necessary when he was outside.
“When there’s nobody around, I don’t see any reason to be wearing it,” Trump said in an interview with America This Week.
Last week, however, in an interview with Fox Business Network, Trump changed the narrative and said he was “all for masks” and noted that he “sort of liked” how he looked with one on, comparing himself to Lone Ranger, a fictional movie hero from Lone West who wore a black eye mask.
Meanwhile, the U.S. has been experiencing a dramatic surge in coronavirus cases, with 35 states reporting an increase. On Saturday, the country recorded a new daily record of 66,528 coronavirus cases. Florida has reported a daily record of 15,300 coronavirus cases on Sunday.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has recently imposed a mandatory mask order across the state.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that “people wear cloth face coverings in public settings” as a safety measure against COVID-19, as it reduces the risk of transmission of the virus.
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