President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeSantis on the reopening of Florida schools: ‘If you can do Walmart’, then ‘we can absolutely do schools’ The NYT editorial board calls for the reopening of schools with the help of the federal government’s ‘checkbook’ Mueller writes WaPo op-ed: Roger Stone ‘remains a convicted felon, and rightly so’ MORE He wore a face mask during his visit to Walter Reed Hospital on Saturday, marking the first time he ever did it on camera.
Trump visited the medical center in Maryland to meet with wounded soldiers and health care personnel who have been caring for patients with COVID-19. He wore a mask while walking down a hallway with hospital officials, but the rest of his time at Walter Reed was closed to the press.
#BREAKING: President Trump visits the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. He is wearing a mask. pic.twitter.com/uZOzM4Lpvs
– The Hill (@thehill) July 11, 2020
The face mask seen on the president was navy blue with a gold presidential seal on the side.
Trump has rarely worn a mask publicly. He was seen wearing one behind the scenes during a tour of a Ford factory in May, but then chose not to wear one in front of the media, saying he didn’t want to give them the satisfaction of seeing it.
The president has said he has no problem with those who wear masks and insisted that he would wear a face mask in a crowded place or when visiting a hospital. But Republicans have urged him to use one himself, arguing that it would be a good example for his supporters amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Before Trump left for his visit, he told the press that it was important to wear a mask in a hospital.
“I will probably have a mask, if you should know,” Trump told reporters before leaving for the hospital. “I think when you’re in a hospital, especially in that particular environment where you’re talking to a lot of soldiers and people who in some cases came out of the operating tables, I think it’s a great thing to wear a mask.”
On its website, the hospital states that visitors “are expected to wear a cloth face covering their nose and mouth when entering and moving around the facility … when they cannot maintain 6 feet of social distance.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a guideline in April encouraging Americans to wear masks when social distancing was not possible because it reduces the risk of the virus spreading.
Trump has reasoned that he does not need to wear a mask because he and his staff are regularly screened for COVID-19.
White House staff have also been reluctant to adopt the use of masks. Officials are no longer required to wear them in the west wing, and some of their top aides are rarely seen wearing them on camera.
“I have never been against masks, but I think they have a time and a place,” Trump said Saturday.
The president indicated earlier this week that he would put a mask on Walter Reed.
Trump’s reluctance to take the public health safety measure has been criticized by other politicians, including prominent Republicans. Some have even used their platforms to promote the use of masks among their constituents, but the president has avoided explicitly encouraging people to do so.
Instead, Trump has held two internal political events in which attendees were not separated and few wore masks.
Since the beginning of the year, the coronavirus has infected more than 3.2 million Americans and killed at least 134,000 in the United States.
Updated 6:56 pm