President Donald Trump said on a tweet that wearing face masks is “patriotic” during the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump mentioned Covid-19 as the “Invisible China Virus” in his tweet. It also displays a black-and-white photo of him wearing a mask.
“Many people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask when you can’t socially distance,” Trump tweeted. “There is nobody more Patriotic than me, your favorite President!”
Trump’s tweet is considered his biggest endorsement yet of using face coverings in public, after several months of doubts on whether he deemed masks as an essential tool to help contain the spread of the virus.
Trump said once in a Fox News interview, “I don’t agree with the statement that if everybody wear a mask everything disappears.” This was his response to the statements 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 asserted that if “everybody” wore masks, the country could keep the virus under control in a matter of weeks.
“All of sudden everybody’s got to wear a mask, and as you know masks cause problems, too,” Trump told Fox News.
However, he added, “With that being said, I’m a believer in masks. I think masks are good.”
Trump has mainly refused to wear a mask in public before. He states that he does not have to don one since he is the president and almost everyone near him is tested for Covid-19.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) changed its guidance in early April to urge the public to use a face mask in areas where social distancing was not possible. Trump made this announcement himself but said, “I don’t think I’m going to be doing it.”
Business leaders, politicians of the two major parties, and Trump administration health authorities have embraced the importance of wearing masks as several states witness surges in Covid-19 cases.
″Unfortunately, as with much of science and health, the issue became extraordinarily politicized [during the pandemic] and I think the president bears a lot of responsibility for that,” Michael Sparer, professor and chair of health policy and management at Columbia University, told CNBC on Monday before Trump’s tweet.
Trump has been seen wearing a mask only twice since the coronavirus pandemic started, and only once did he don one in full view of the press.
“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, could give the impression that when and where to wear a mask is an individual choice.
“We don’t tell people they have the freedom of choice to wear a seat belt. We don’t tell people they have the freedom of choice not to wear a motorcycle helmet,” Sparer said. “There are certain public health actions that we take on behalf of the public.”