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 AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderCoronavirus Report: The Hill's Steve Clemons interviews Randi Weingarten China lashes out at US over WHO withdrawal The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump backs another T stimulus, urges governors to reopen schools 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 John TrumpKimberly Guilfoyle reports being asymptomatic and 'feeling really pretty good' after COVID-19 diagnosis Biden says he will rejoin WHO on his first day in office Lincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad 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 McConnellLincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad State and local officials beg Congress to send more election funds ahead of November Teacher's union puts million behind ad demanding funding for schools preparing to reopen 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 RubioLincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad GOP Miami mayor does not commit to voting for Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump wants schools to reopen, challenged on 'harmless' COVID-19 remark MORE (R-Fla.) said last week that “everyone should just wear a damn mask.”