Republican governor on Mount Rushmore event: 'There should have been face coverings'

Arkansas Gov. Asa HutchinsonAsa HutchinsonBipartisan governors call on Congress to pass coronavirus relief package Smearing presidential election will turn off young voters and undermine democracy The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Coast-to-coast fears about post-holiday COVID-19 spread MORE (R) said on Sunday that “there should have been face coverings” at the Mount Rushmore Fourth of July event late last week.

Hutchinson told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he thinks the event was a “good” way “to celebrate our independence” in a “controlled environment.” But he said he wished more people wore face coverings.

“Obviously, I would have liked to see more face coverings there in order to set an example,” Hutchinson said.

“There is a virus fatigue in our country right now, and you have to live life. You can’t stop every activity,” he said. “But you have to be in a controlled environment in which you protect yourself and others and take it seriously.”


NBC’s Andrea Mitchell pushed Hutchinson, saying there was “absolutely no social distancing” at the South Dakota event, which President TrumpDonald John TrumpAppeals court OKs White House diverting military funding to border wall construction Pentagon: Tentative meeting between spy agencies, Biden transition set for early next week Conservative policy director calls Section 230 repeal an 'existential threat' for tech MORE attended. 

“There should have been face coverings,” he said. “They should have followed guidelines there.”

But Hutchinson maintained the event was in a “controlled environment,” as it was “not something set up at the last minute.”

The Arkansas governor also said if the president wanted to host a rally in his state, “there would have to be social distancing and wearing a mask if you can’t social distance.”

“You have to follow our guidelines, and that’s what we’d insist upon,” he said.

The president spoke at the Mount Rushmore event, which was held outside, on Friday to a mostly mask-free crowd. Trump himself has been hesitant to appear in public with a mask.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing a mask in public, “especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.”

Arkansas has confirmed 23,209 cases of COVID-19, leading to 286 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. South Dakota, meanwhile, has documented 7,028 total positive COVID-19 cases during the pandemic and 97 fatalities.