Trump makes U-turn on masks, says it's 'patriotic' to cover face when social distancing is impossible
After months of denial, President Donald Trump on Monday, July 20, spoke in favor of wearing masks in public as a safety measure against the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic that has hit more than 3.8 million people and claimed nearly 141,000 lives in the US. The president, who has not only refused to wear a mask himself but also stopped short of asking people to do the same, was seen sporting the face gear on July 11 when he visited the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
However, the unpredictable president also added the term “patriotic” with the mask saying many people are of the opinion that wearing a mask when social distancing is not possible makes one patriotic with a capital ‘P’ and also made an attempt to showcase himself as a patriotic president both through words and a picture. Trump posted a tweet on Monday, July 20, in which he said "many people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask when you can't socially distance.” Trump also included a photo of himself sporting a mask which is from his visit to injured troops in Walter Reed. In late May, Trump had worn a mask during a visit to a Ford Motor Co. plan in Michigan but he did not allow the media to capture him with it.
Trump's turnaround comes after mocking Biden for wearing a mask at Memorial Day event on May 25. He had retweeted a post from Fox News political analyst Brit Hume, which read: "This might help explain why Trump doesn’t like to wear a mask in public. Biden today." The tweet was shared with a close-up picture of Biden dark sunglasses and a mask. Last week, Trump had taken another U-turn as he was forced to take his campaign virtual. He held his first tele-rally addressing Wisconsin supporters, saying no massive rallies will be held 'until Covid-19 problem is solved'. The telephonic rally marked a setback for Trump, who had went ahead with his controversial Tulsa rally last month despite warnings from health experts and local officials to call it off considering the virus spread.
The health officials originally did not want to recommend wearing face masks fearing that people would buy up the N95 masks that are sought desperately for health workers. This added to the confusion and the administration faced more flak and accusation that it was not taking the threat seriously. Vice President Mike Pence had also came under criticism in early May when he went to the Mayo Clinic, Minnesota, without wearing a mask. He wore one the next time he traveled out of Washington DC.
What POTUS said earlier
In April, Trump said in his defense of not wearing a mask that his job profile doesn’t make wearing it look good. “Well, I just don't want to wear one myself. 'I just don't want to be doing - I don't know, somehow sitting in the Oval Office behind the 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. Somehow, I don't see it for myself. I just - I just don't. Maybe I'll change my mind, but this will pass and hopefully it'll pass very quickly,” the 74-year-old embattled commander-in-chief said.
The outbreak of the coronavirus has left the Trump administration in a lot of discomfort with the health sector and economy receiving serious blows. Be it in terms of containing the pandemic to aiding the states to fight their battles against the epidemic to not advising wearing of masks, the Trump team has been accused of not managing things well in any department.