Story at a glance
- The president has largely defied his own administration’s guidance advising people to wear cloth face coverings when they go out in public to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus, appearing both at public events and rallies without a mask.
- Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said it would help if the president wore a mask to help stop the politicizing of the face coverings.
- Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) on Friday said there needs to be a consistent national message from Trump on face masks.
As the U.S. has topped 2.5 million coronavirus cases and is experiencing worsening outbreaks in Florida, Texas and Arizona, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are urging President Trump to set an example for Americans by wearing a face mask.
The president has largely defied his own administration’s guidance advising people to wear cloth face coverings when they go out in public to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus, appearing at public events and rallies without any face covering. Trump even criticized former Vice President Joe Biden for using a mask.
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“It’s like he put a knapsack over his face. He probably likes it that way,” Trump told the Wall Street Journal earlier this month. “He seems to feel good in a mask, you know, feels better than he does without the mask, which is a strange situation.”
The White House has maintained that the president and those around him are regularly tested for the coronavirus.
But as COVID-19 cases continue to surge in the U.S., members of Trump’s own party are recommending he wear a face covering to send a message.
“If wearing masks is important and all the health experts tell us that it is in containing the disease in 2020, it would help if from time to time the president would wear one to help us get rid of this political debate that says if you’re for Trump, you don’t wear a mask, if you’re against Trump, you do,” Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn) told CNN’s “Inside Politics” Sunday.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) on Friday said there needs to be a consistent national message from Trump on face masks.
“A consistent national message supporting the importance of wearing a mask and social distancing is very important to making sure everybody understands the importance of it,” Hutchinson told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd. “Nothing beats leadership. Certainly it’s important to convey the importance of that.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Sunday said a nationwide mandate requiring face coverings is long overdue.
“My understanding is that the Centers for Disease Control [and Prevention] has recommended the use of masks but not...required it because they don’t want to offend the president,” Pelosi told ABC’s “This Week.”
She called on the president to lead by example, adding “real men wear masks.”
She added the hashtag "#realmenwearmasks."
Several other Republican lawmakers have urged Americans to continue wearing face coverings, although have not commented on whether the president should adhere to the guidance specifically.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) last week said people should continue to wear masks in public until a vaccine for COVID-19 is available.
Vice President Mike Pence during an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday said the administration supports the wearing of masks wherever state and local authorities advise it’s necessary.
“We believe people should wear masks wherever social distancing is not possible,” he said.
On Sunday, Pence wore a mask while attending a church service that included nearly 2,200 people, and a choir of more than 100 that performed without any face coverings.
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