4 Months And 130,000+ U.S. Deaths Later, Trump Finally Puts On A Mask
“Rather than taking responsibility and leading, he wasted four months that Americans have been making sacrifices by stoking divisions and actively discouraging people from taking a very basic step to protect each other."
President Trump publicly put on a mask after months of declining to wear one during a visit to the Walter Reed hospital on Saturday – a move that many deemed hollow and too little, too late, as COVID-19 cases continue to surge in the U.S., and related deaths surpass 135,000.
Trump was seen wearing a mask while visiting wounded service members at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Saturday, July 11. Prior to the trip, Trump told reporters that he would “probably” be wearing a mask during his visit, adding, “I think when you’re in a hospital, especially in that particular setting, where you’re talking to a lot of soldiers and people that, in some cases, just got off the operating tables, I think it’s a great thing to wear a mask.”
Trump’s brief stint in a CDC-recommended face covering was criticized by many as a hollow gesture, as the country battles a record number of cases, far more than any other developed country four months into the pandemic.
“Donald Trump spent months ignoring the advice of medical experts and politicizing wearing a mask, one of the most important things we can do to prevent the spread of the virus,” presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s spokesperson Andrew Bates said in a statement. “Rather than taking responsibility and leading, he wasted four months that Americans have been making sacrifices by stoking divisions and actively discouraging people from taking a very basic step to protect each other."
His move to meet basic public health safety standards also came after months of resistance. After the CDC officially advised people to wear face coverings in early April, the president said their guidance was only a recommendation and that he “won’t be doing it personally.” In May, he then shared a tweet mocking Biden for wearing a mask in public. Trump also hasn’t worn a mask to any of his recent rallies — a trend that is even raising alarm among Fox News anchors who’ve historically supported him. His resistance toward masks has also appeared to influence his supporters, with 27% of individuals who identify as Republican saying in a recent Gallup Panel survey that they never wear masks.
The president has also discounted advice from top health authorities like National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci who told the Financial Times that he hasn’t met with President Trump in more than a month — and hasn’t briefed him in at least two months. Trump also retweeted conservative former game show host Chuck Woolery Monday who said that the “most outrageous lies are the ones about Covid 19.”
The United States, the country hardest-hit by the virus, has more than 3.3 million confirmed cases, including more than 135,000 deaths as of Monday. On Sunday, Florida’s Department of Health reported at least 15,299 new cases in the state — the highest number of new cases in a single day by any state since the pandemic began.