\\\"I don't wear masks like him. Every time you see him, he's got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from it, and he shows up with the biggest mask I've seen,\\\" Trump said, bragging about the large crowds of supporters at his outdoor rallies, many not wearing masks.
As far back on April 3, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first recommended Americans wear face coverings in public, changing earlier guidance that it wasn't necessary, it was Trump who made the announcement at a task force briefing -- but he stressed the practice was \\\"voluntary\\\" and that \\\"you do not have to do it.\\\"
\\\"I just don't want to be doing -- somehow sitting in the Oval Office, behind that beautiful, Resolute Desk, the great Resolute Desk, I think wearing a face mask -- as I greet presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens, I don't know, it somehow, I don't see it for myself,\\\" Trump said.
In late May, as the death toll from COVID-19 neared 100,000 and the White House coronavirus task force meetings with experts dwindled down, Trump said he wore a mask behind closed doors on a visit to a Ford plant in Detroit but he \\\"didn't want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it.\\\"
\\\"When you are in a hospital, especially in that particular setting when you are talking to a lot of soldiers, people that in some cases just got off the operating table, I think it's a great thing to wear a mask,\\\" Trump said in July, calling it \\\"patriotic.\\\"
In a White House briefing just last month, Trump was asked why he doesn't wear a mask to set an example, instead of encouraging supporters who view rules requiring masks as a violation of personal freedom.
\\\"Well, I'm tested, and I'm sometimes surprised when I see somebody sitting and -- like, with Joe. Joe feels very safe in a mask. I don't know, maybe he doesn't want to expose his face,\\\" Trump said on Sept. 16. \\\"There's no reason for him to have masks on.\\\"
\\\"The president, by his own admission, downplayed the severity of the pandemic. From the start he sent mixed messages on the wearing of masks and other protective measures recommended by his own public health experts,\\\" said Cohen, a former acting undersecretary for intelligence at the Department of Homeland Security. \\\"He, his staff and his campaign ignored CDC guidance and that high-risk behavior not only confused Americans -- placing our communities at greater risk -- but it also made the White House a more dangerous place to work and visit.\\\"
Despite the president and his close adviser Hope Hicks getting sick, a White House spokesman said Friday afternoon that mask wearing still will not be required at the White House, where many had gone without them for months.
The tweet from Trump, 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.
As multiple states experience a record-breaking surge in coronavirus cases, masks have been embraced by business leaders, politicians of both major parties and even Trump administration health officials.
In a Fox News interview 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.
Trump has largely refused to wear a mask in public. He notes that it's not necessary for him as president, because nearly everyone in his proximity is tested for Covid-19 before they approach him. But he has declined to don a face covering in numerous public settings throughout the crisis, including at a Honeywell factory in Arizona that produces masks.
He openly wore a mask for the first time just this month, during a visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Before arriving there, Trump told reporters, \"I've never been against masks but I do believe they have a time and a place.\"
\"I think his messaging has been extraordinarily inconsistent,\" Sparer said. The implicit message of Trump wearing a mask in a hospital and taking it off in other public settings, the professor said, is that deciding when and where to wear a mask is an individual choice.
Masks were not always championed by public health officials. In March and April, when hospitals in hot-spot states faced dire shortages of personal protective equipment, experts pushed back on Trump's own suggestion that Americans use scarves to cover their faces in public. 59ce067264