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GOP chair defends Trump messaging on masks: 'To say that he should have known then what we know now isn't really fair'

GOP chair defends Trump messaging on masks: 'To say that he should have known then what we know now isn't really fair'
© RNC

Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDanielRonna Romney McDanielThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Coast-to-coast fears about post-holiday COVID-19 spread Michigan certifies Biden victory in another blow to Trump Sunday shows - Virus surge dominates ahead of fraught Thanksgiving holiday MORE on Sunday defended President TrumpDonald John TrumpGeraldo Rivera on Trump sowing election result doubts: 'Enough is enough now' Murkowski: Trump should concede White House race Scott Atlas resigns as coronavirus adviser to Trump MORE’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, including his contradictory remarks on masks.

McDaniel defended Trump’s earlier remarks casting doubt on the effectiveness of masks, noting that Anthony FauciAnthony FauciScott Atlas resigns as coronavirus adviser to Trump Hospitals brace for COVID-19 surge Rand Paul says Fauci owes parents and students an apology over pandemic measures MORE, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, advised against wearing them earlier in the pandemic.

“I think 20/20 vision in hindsight is always perfect, but as a new pandemic hit our shores we were all being told by Dr. Fauci, the scientists that we shouldn’t wear masks,” McDaniel said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “It’s a new virus … to say that he should have known then what we know now isn’t really fair.”

NBC’s Chuck ToddCharles (Chuck) David ToddMullen: 'National security issues do not wait' for presidential transitions Republican Arkansas governor: Trump beginning transition process more 'significant' than a concession Richmond says GOP 'reluctant to stand up and tell the emperor he wears no clothes' MORE noted that Trump “waited months” after health experts reached a consensus on masks to encourage their use. Since tweeting his support for masks, the president has mocked Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenGeraldo Rivera on Trump sowing election result doubts: 'Enough is enough now' Senate approves two energy regulators, completing panel Murkowski: Trump should concede White House race MORE for wearing them.

“Do you not see a direct correlation between the president not encouraging mask-wearing and the fact that fewer Republicans wear masks than independents or Democrats?” Todd asked.

“I don’t think that it’s politically dividing at all, I wear a mask, my kids wear a mask, my husband wears a mask… the president wears a mask too,” McDaniel replied. “It’s sad that it’s become political.”

McDaniel went on to say the U.S. is “in the right space and moving forward with a vaccine” and accused Democrats of politicizing the crisis.

“Is there any way to look at this and compare it to the western world and say that we’ve done better than other countries?” Todd countered.

McDaniel responded by pointing to Biden accusing Trump of “xenophobia” in January.

“He’s not the president,” Todd replied.

“I think it’s disgusting to take a crisis in this country and try to lay it at the feet of the president, where’s the outrage at China?” McDaniel asked.

Todd also noted reports that political appointees are manipulating the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance on the virus and asked whether that could be considered politicizing the virus.

“I don’t know anything about that” McDaniel responded before attacking Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Health Care: Moderna to apply for emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccine candidate | Hospitals brace for COVID-19 surge | US more than doubles highest number of monthly COVID-19 cases House Democrats urge congressional leaders to support .1B budget for IRS Bipartisan Senate group holding coronavirus relief talks amid stalemate MORE (D-Calif.) for calling the virus “the Trump virus.”