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GOP senator urges Trump to wear a mask to set example

GOP senator urges Trump to wear a mask to set example
© Greg Nash

Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderThe Republicans' deep dive into nativism Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the National Shooting Sports Foundation - CDC news on gatherings a step toward normality MORE (R-Tenn.) urged Americans to stop politicizing the use of masks to slow the spread of COVID-19, adding that it would help if President TrumpDonald TrumpCaitlyn Jenner says election was not 'stolen,' calls Biden 'our president' Overnight Health Care: FDA authorizes Pfizer vaccine for adolescents | Biden administration reverses limits on LGBTQ health protections Overnight Defense: US fires 30 warning shots at Iranian boats | Kabul attack heightens fears of Afghan women's fates | Democratic Party leaders push Biden on rejoining Iran deal MORE wore one himself once in a while. 

“Unfortunately this simple lifesaving practice has become part of a political debate that says: If you're for Trump, you don't wear a mask. If you're against Trump, you do,” Alexander said Tuesday during a hearing focused on COVID-19. 

“That is why I have suggested the president should occasionally wear a mask even though there are not many occasions when it is necessary for him to do so. The president has millions of admirers. They would follow his lead. It would help end this political debate. The stakes are too high for it to continue.”

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the use of masks or cloth facial coverings when it is not possible to stay at least 6 feet away from others. Studies have shown the use of face coverings can slow the spread of COVID-19 because it prevents coronavirus carriers who do not know they have the disease — because they’re not showing symptoms — from spreading it to others. 

However, the issue has become political in the U.S. 

Polls show Democrats are more likely than Republicans to wear masks in public, and Republican governors have been more hesitant than Democratic ones to issue statewide mask mandates, including in states experiencing surges in cases like Texas, Arizona and Florida. 

Other Republicans in Congress have urged mask-wearing in recent days, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellManchin, Biden huddle amid talk of breaking up T package Romney: Removing Cheney from House leadership will cost GOP election votes The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden reverses Trump limits on transgender protections MORE (R-Ky.)

“We must have no stigma — none — about wearing masks when we leave our homes and come near other people," he said on the Senate floor Monday. 

"Wearing simple face coverings is not about protecting ourselves. It is about protecting everyone we encounter.” 

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioDemocrats cool on Crist's latest bid for Florida governor Tim Scott sparks buzz in crowded field of White House hopefuls The unflappable Liz Cheney: Why Trump Republicans have struggled to crush her  MORE (R-Fla.) said last week that “everyone should just wear a damn mask.”