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Susan Collins: Trump didn't set a 'good example' by taking mask off at White House

Susan Collins: Trump didn't set a 'good example' by taking mask off at White House
© Bonnie Cash

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsPelosi quashes reports on Jan. 6 select committee White House advisers huddle with Senate moderates on infrastructure Supreme Court battle could wreak havoc with Biden's 2020 agenda MORE (R-Maine) said President TrumpDonald TrumpGuardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa wins GOP primary in NYC mayor's race Garland dismisses broad review of politicization of DOJ under Trump Schumer vows next steps after 'ridiculous,' 'awful' GOP election bill filibuster MORE, who is currently infected with COVID-19, didn't set a "good example" when he took off his mask outside of the White House earlier this week, shortly after leaving Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

“When I saw him on the balcony of the White House, taking off his mask, I couldn’t help but think that he sent the wrong signal, given that he’s infected with COVID-19 and that there are many people in his immediate circle who have the virus," Collins told The Associated Press. “I did not think that was a good example at all.” 

Collins, who is fighting for her political life as she tries to hold onto her Senate seat, has previously been critical of the president's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, saying earlier this year that it had been "extremely uneven" and that he "should have been straightforward" about the seriousness of the disease. 

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Trump was spotted taking off his mask on Monday as he posed for photos from the balcony above the South Lawn. After landing in Marine One, Trump walked up the stairs of the South Portico, removed his mask and looked over the balcony.

The president was near an official photographer, and other staffers could be seen behind him. He did not put his mask back on as he turned to walk back into the White House.

Trump went to Walter Reed late Friday afternoon, a move the White House said was done out of an abundance of caution. He spent several days at the hospital receiving treatment for COVID-19 and left on Monday. 

White House physician Sean Conley told reporters on Monday that Trump was healthy enough to leave the hospital, citing his vitals and clinical evaluations. But he acknowledged that the president, who is 74 and overweight and thus at risk for severe complications, was not out of the woods yet. 

Collins, however, added that she was "shocked" Trump was discharged from the hospital so quickly.