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 AlexanderMcConnell gets GOP wake-up call The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats return to disappointment on immigration Authorities link ex-Tennessee governor to killing of Jimmy Hoffa associate 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 TrumpClyburn says he's worried about losing House, 'losing this democracy' Sinema reignites 2024 primary chatter amid filibuster fight  Why not a Manchin-DeSantis ticket for 2024? 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 McConnellSinema reignites 2024 primary chatter amid filibuster fight  Biden's new calls to action matter, as does the one yet to come Trump to make election claims center stage in Arizona 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 RubioHow a nice-guy South Dakota senator fell into a Trump storm Republicans threaten floor takeover if Democrats weaken filibuster  Democrats must close the perception gap MORE (R-Fla.) said last week that “everyone should just wear a damn mask.”