President Donald Trump said he didn’t need to wear a mask at his Monday night fundraiser because he was ‘far away’ from others, even as he revealed he carries one in his pocket and he favors even more social distancing than six-foot standard.
Trump made the comments at a White House press briefing where despite apparent reluctance to be photographed wearing a mask for months as the coronavirus pandemic raged he suddenly encouraged Americans to do so.
‘I have the mask right here,’ Trump said, whipping out a mask bearing the presidential seal to show reporters at his rebooted coronavirus briefing.
‘I have the mask right here,’ Trump said, as he defended his decision not to wear one at a fundraiser at his D.C. hotel
‘I do actually do it when I need. I carry the mask,’ Trump said. ‘I will use it, gladly. No problem with it,’ Trump said.
He defended his decision not to wear a mask at his D.C. hotel, where he attended a fundraiser Monday night that hauled in $5 million just hours after sending out a tweet where he finally encouraged his followers to wear masks.
‘I don’t know, the hotel – I was pretty far away from people,’ Trump said, noting that he and attendees had been tested for the deadly virus that has infected more than 3.5 million Americans.
‘If you’re close together I would put on the mask,’ he urged Americans.
‘If you can use the mask, when you can use the mask if you’re close to each other if you’re in a group, I would put it on.’
Trump, who held a rally last month in Tulsa where more than 6,000 joined in an indoor arena, even said the standard six-foot guidance on social distancing may not be strong enough.
‘Six feet to me is common sense,’ Trump said. ‘I’d like to say make it a little bit further.’
‘I’m getting used to the mask,’ said Trump, who has mocked rival Joe Biden for the way a mask looked on him.
He was speaking without a mask, while answering a question from masked NBC News correspondent Kristen Welker.
Trump also expressed consideration for the army of agents who protect him – some of whom tested positive for the virus after his Tulsa campaign rally.
‘When I’m in a group – if I’m in an elevator and there are other people with me. Including like security people, it’s not their fault. They have to be in the elevator. I want to protect them also. I put on a mask,’ Trump said.
‘Think about patriotism. Maybe it is. It helps,’ Trump said, at a briefing where the persistently optimistic president said things would get ‘worse before they get better.’
But that didn’t stop Trump from noting that experts during the start of the pandemic, when there was a run on masks throughout the country, urged against it. ‘If they’ve changed their minds that’s good enough for me,’ Trump said.
Trump refused to wear a mask during a non-socially distanced fundraiser at his Washington D.C. hotel Monday evening just hours after he recommended, for the first time since the start of the pandemic, that Americans wear face coverings in public.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the president is fine not to wear a mask because she claims he is tested multiple times every day for coronavirus.
‘The president’s always been consistent on this, that masks, according to the CDC, are recommended but not required,’ McEnany told reporters during a press briefing Tuesday morning.
‘The president is the most tested man in America, he’s tested more than anyone – multiple times per day,’ she insisted. ‘And we believe that he’s acting appropriately.’
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top immunologist, told NPR in an interview published Tuesday morning that he was ‘pleased’ the president decided to get on board with consistent messaging from the White House on wearing masks.
‘I’m not sure [about] a federal mandate,’ Fauci said, but added: ‘I was very pleased to see the president wearing a mask and tweeting about mask.’
‘I think we’ve turned the corner on the road of a consistent message,’ the White House coronavirus task force member continued.
Video emerged late Monday night, however, of the president walking through Trump International Hotel, which is less than a mile from the White House, as he participated in a roundtable with supporters of a joint fundraising committee.
Also in tow, not adhering to D.C. masks guidelines, were Republican South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and the president’s personal attorney and former Mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani.
The video specifically showed a moment the president, and his entourage, stopped to speak with Madison Cawthorn, the 24-year-old who won the Republican primary for Meadows’ seat in North Carolina’s 11th district, which he vacated when he joined the administration.
Captured on camera: Donald Trump made a mask-less visit to his Washington D.C. hotel for a fundraiser Monday evening with lawmakers, administration officials and other allies
‘Don’t touch me’: Trump introduced 24-year-old Madison Cawthorn (center in blue), who is running for Congress in North Carolina, to his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani who had his mask pulled below his chin and jokingly said ‘Don’t touch me’ as Cawthorn approached him for a handshake
Cawthorn also spoke with Trump’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who did not wear a mask during the trip, and who’s seat the candidate is running for after Meadow’s stepped down to join the administration
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham (speaking with Cawthorn) was also in tow at the fundraiser, not wearing a mask
‘He’s the most tested man in America’: White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany asserted Trump can get away with not to wear a masks because ‘he’s tested more than anyone – multiple times per day’
Dr. Anthony Fauci said in an interview with NPR that was published Tuesday morning that he was ‘pleased’ with Trump tweeting about wearing a mask. ‘I think we’ve turned the corner on the road of a consistent message,’ he lauded before news of the president’s unmasked trip was revealed
The president made an introduction between Cawthron and Giuliani, who had a black mask pulled below his chin during the interaction and jokingly said ‘Don’t touch me’ when the candidate approached him for a handshake.
‘He won in North Carolina,’ Trump told Giuliani of Cawthorn, who is wheel-chair bound following a 2014 car accident that left him partially paralyzed. ‘He’s a great guy.’
Surgeon General Jerome Adams said he is ‘pleased’ that Trump has worn a masks, but would not comment on the president’s violation of city mandates Monday night.
‘I’m a physician not a political pundit,’ Adams, the leading spokesman on public health in the federal government and member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, told CBS This Morning on Tuesday morning.
‘It doesn’t do me any good to get back and forth about the president,’ he continued. ‘What I can tell you is that I’m very pleased that he actually is now wearing a face covering.’
The mask-less trip came the same day Trump finally encouraged the public to wear face coverings to prevent the spread of coronavirus, claiming the act of wearing one is ‘patriotic.’
‘We are United in our effort to defeat the Invisible China Virus, and many people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask when you can’t socially distance,’ Trump wrote on Twitter Monday afternoon.
‘There is nobody more Patriotic than me, your favorite President!’ he continues, including a photo of him wearing a mask from his visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center earlier this month.
His trip to visit wounded troops marked the first and only time Trump allowed photographs to be taken of him donning any sort of face covering since the start of the pandemic in March.
The non-socially distanced, mask-less visit to Trump Hotel came as the president suggested Monday it’s ‘Patriotic to wear a face mask when you can’t socially distance.’ ‘There is nobody more Patriotic than me, your favorite President,’ Trump added
Trump allowed cameras to capture him wearing a mask for the first time during a July 12 trip to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The president make the weekend trip to visit wounded troops
When Surgeon General Jerome Adams was asked about the mask-less trip Monday, he deflected: ‘I’m a physician not a political pundit.’ But he conceded he is ‘pleased’ the president had worn a face covering in public last week
As of Tuesday morning, the number of confirmed cases is more than 3.8 million, much more than any other country has reported, and the death toll is nearing 141,000
How Trump mocked Biden for wearing a mask – while Melania and Ivanka wore them
Until his recent change of tune, Trump had long resisted calls to wear a mask in public and even mocked his Democratic rival Joe Biden for wearing one in May.
After Biden wore a mask at a Memorial Day event, Trump retweeted a post by Fox News analyst Brit Hume which made fun of how Biden looked and said ‘this might help explain why Trump doesn’t like to wear a mask in public’.
Asked about the tweet, Trump said it was ‘very unusual’ to wear a mask outside and accused a reporter of trying to be ‘politically correct’ by wearing one himself.
Biden called Trump a ‘fool’ in response, saying in an interview with CNN that ‘this macho stuff’ was costing lives.
Trump previously said he ‘did not want to give the press the pleasure’ of seeing him with a mask, while saying he had worn one away from the cameras.
Melania Trump, by contrast, had let Americans see her in a face mask as long ago as April while urging people to take the health regulations ‘seriously’.
‘As the CDC studies the spread of Covid-19, they recommend people wear cloth face coverings in public settings when social distancing can be hard to do,’ Melania said on April 9 alongside a photo of herself in a mask.
A nearly identical message from the first lady was shared on the official White House YouTube channel the same day.
Only days earlier, Donald Trump had said he could not see himself greeting ‘presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens’ while wearing a mask.
The president’s daughter Ivanka Trump also urged people to follow CDC guidance on April 13, sharing a photo of herself and her daughter Arabella wearing home-made face coverings.
Ivanka was seen wearing a mask in public as long ago as May, and her use of face coverings has exposed her to criticism from Trump supporters.
He did, however, also briefly wear a mask during a tour of a Ford Motor Co. plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan in late May – but he did not allow reporters or photographers to capture the moment.
‘I didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it,’ Trump said.
Photos soon leaked of Trump wearing the mask.
The president’s tweet suggesting Americans wear masks and his maskless trip to his D.C. hotel came nearly four months after Trump insisted mask-wearing was not for him.
It also followed an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace that aired Sunday morning where the president asserted he would not issue a federal-level mandate for people to wear masks, claiming he wanted Americans to keep their freedoms.
On April 3, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put out an updated advisory on coronavirus transmission recommending that Americans wear masks.
The president said he wasn’t interested.
‘Well, I just don’t want to wear one myself,’ he said at the time.
‘I just don’t want to be doing – I don’t know, somehow sitting in the Oval Office behind the beautiful Resolute Desk – the great Resolute Desk – I think wearing a face mask as I greet presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens, I don’t know. Somehow, don’t see it for myself,’ Trump continued. ‘I just – I just don’t. Maybe I’ll change my mind, but this will pass and hopefully it’ll pass very quickly.’
Health officials had originally not wanted to recommend widespread mask-wearing for fear Americans would buy up N95 masks that were desperately needed for healthcare workers and first responders.
This led to confusion, which was furthered by the administration sending mixed messages about masks.
Vice President Mike Pence took heat when he showed up to the Mayo Clinic in early May sans mask.
He remedied the situation by wearing one the next time he traveled out of D.C.
Around the same time, Trump went to a Honeywell plant in Arizona – which was making masks – and refused to put one on.
At recent Trump campaign events, organizers haven’t mandated mask-wearing.
Behind-the-scenes, the Associated Press reported, Trump worried he’d look ridiculous in a mask and feared it would be used against him in political ads.
He told aides in early May that it would ‘send the wrong message.’
‘It’s a vanity thing, I guess, with him,’ House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said of Trump’s position to go bare-faced.
‘You’d think, as the president of the United States, you would have the confidence to honor the guidance he’s giving the country.’
After Democratic challenger Biden wore a mask at a Memorial Day event, Trump retweeted a post by Fox News analyst Brit Hume which made fun of how Biden looked.
The caption to Hume’s post said: ‘This might help explain why Trump doesn’t like to wear a mask in public’.
Asked about the tweet, Trump said it was ‘very unusual’ to wear a mask outside and accused a reporter of trying to be ‘politically correct’ by wearing a mask himself.
Biden called Trump a ‘fool’ in response, saying in an interview with CNN that ‘this macho stuff’ was costing lives.
Donald Trump retweeted a post mocking Joe Biden for wearing a face mask at Memorial Day commemorations while the president refused to don one at a ceremony in Virginia
Ivanka Trump, pictured yesterday wearing a mask as she distributes food as part of the Farmers to Families program in Washington, has encouraged the use of masks since April
Melania Trump had let Americans see her in a face mask as long ago as April while urging people to take the health regulations ‘seriously’.
Trump announced Monday that he would bring back the daily White House Coronavirus Task Force briefings, which ceased weeks ago and the president stopped attending in April after suggesting people ingest or inject Lysol or bleach to treat the virus.
He said they would resume around 5:00 p.m. every day, like previously, claiming it was a good time slot and that there was a large viewership.
Dr. Fauci, 79, said he could not guarantee he would be part of those briefings, which he regularly attended months back before reports of clashes between the doctor and president emerged.
‘I mean, that’s up to the White House,’ he said when NPR asked if he would be making an appearance at the press conferences.
‘I would imagine that I would be at least in on some of it,’ he said of his role with the White House Coronavirus Task Force. ‘But we have not hear anything definite yet. I mean, if they want me there, I’d be more than happy to be there. And if they – if not, that’s OK, too. As long as we get the message across.
When Adams was asked if Drs. Fauci or Deborah Birx would be returning to the briefings, the Surgeon General said the White House is ‘still figuring that out.’
‘I know that as they resume we will be there in our different roles,’ he added.
More recently, however, some Capitol Hill Republicans have been pleading with Trump to set a good example and put on a mask as coronavirus cases around the country continue to soar.
They’ve even taken their plight public.
‘We must have no stigma – none – about wearing masks when we leave our homes and come near other people,’ Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor late last month. ‘Wearing simple face coverings is not about protecting ourselves, it is about protecting everyone we encounter.’