Trump tells allies his wearing a mask would ‘send the wrong message,’ make him look ridiculous.
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has been mask averse for weeks.
Within minutes of the CDC announcing its updated mask recommendations last month, the president said, “I don’t think that I’m going to be doing it.”
Trump has told advisers that he believes wearing one would “send the wrong message,” according to one administration and two campaign officials not authorized to publicly discuss private conversations.
The president said doing so would make it seem like he is preoccupied with health instead of focused on reopening the nation’s economy — which his aides believe is the key to his reelection chances in November.
Moreover, Trump, who is known to be especially cognizant of his appearance on television, has also told confidants that he fears he would look ridiculous in a mask and the image would appear in negative ads, according to one of the officials.
“It’s a vanity thing, I guess, with him,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said of Trump on MSNBC. “You’d think, as the president of the United States, you would have the confidence to honor the guidance he’s giving the country.”
That’s left those around him unsure of how to proceed.
White House aides say the president hasn’t told them not to wear them, but few do. Some Republican allies have asked Trump’s campaign how it would be viewed by the White House if they were spotted wearing a mask, according to two campaign officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss private conversations.
The decision to wear a mask in public is becoming a political statement — a moment to pick sides in a brewing culture war over containing the coronavirus.
While not yet as loaded as a “Make America Great Again” hat, the mask is increasingly a visual shorthand for a debate pitting those willing to follow health officials’ guidance and cover their faces against those who feel it violates their freedom or buys into a threat they think is overblown.
That resistance is fueled by some of the same people who object to other virus restrictions. The push back has been stoked by Trump — he didn’t wear a mask during a Tuesday appearance at a facility making them — and some other Republicans, who have flouted rules and questioned the value of masks. It’s a development that has worried experts as Americans are increasingly returning to public spaces.
Source: NBC News
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