Nearly four months after President Trump said mask-wearing was not for him, he sent out a tweet Monday suggesting people should cover their faces to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
‘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. ‘There is nobody more Patriotic than me, your favorite President!’
Trump then included a photo of him wearing a mask from his visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center earlier this month.
President Trump tweeted Monday that ‘many’ people say 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
President Trump allowed cameras to catch him wearing a mask during a July 12 trip to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The president make the weekend trip to visit wounded troops
The trip to visit wounded troops marked the first time Trump allowed himself to be photographed wearing a mask.
He also wore a mask briefly during a tour of a Ford Motor Co. plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan in late May.
But he didn’t allow reporters to capture it.
‘I didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it,’ Trump said.
Photos soon leaked of Trump wearing the mask.
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, I 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.’
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.’