US President Donald Trump wears a mask as he visits Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland’ on July 11, 2020.
Alex Edelman | Getty Images
President Donald Trump offered his strongest endorsement yet for wearing face masks in public, tweeting Monday that it is a “Patriotic” action to take during the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump’s tweet refers to Covid-19 as the “Invisible China Virus” – a name for the disease he has frequently been criticized for using – includes a black-and-white photo of him wearing a mask.
“There is nobody more Patriotic than me, your favorite President!” Trump tweeted.
The tweet from the president appearing to endorse the use of face coverings in public follows months of mixed messages on whether he believed they were an essential tool to help prevent transmission of the disease.
Only twice since the pandemic began has Trump been seen wearing a mask, and only once did he wear one in full view of the press.
More than 140,000 people have died due to coronavirus in the United States, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally. More than 3.8 million have been infected.
Trump’s tweet also came after his announcement that he would resume daily coronavirus briefings at the White House, as his approval rating for handling the crisis has plummeted, and he has lost significant ground in polls to Democratic rival Joe Biden.
As multiple states experience a record-breaking surge in coronavirus cases, masks have been championed by business leaders, politicians of both major parties and even Trump administration health officials.
But up until his tweet Monday, Trump has taken a less full-throated approach.
In a Fox News interview with Chris Wallace that aired Sunday, for instance, Trump said, “I don’t agree with the statement that if everybody wear a mask everything disappears.” The president was responding to remarks made by Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a member of the White House coronavirus task force, who said that if “everybody” wore masks, the virus could be under control in a matter of weeks.
“Everybody who is saying don’t wear a mask – all of sudden everybody’s got to wear a mask, and as you know masks cause problems, too,” Trump told Fox.
But he added: “With that being said, I’m a believer in masks. I think masks are good.”
The Trump administration has been criticized for failing to show strong leadership by allowing states to disregard the federal government’s social distancing recommendations and set their own rules on how to combat the pandemic. The administration has also repeatedly rebuffed pressure from Democrats and other groups to enact a national mask mandate.
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