\"I don't wear masks like him. Every time you see him, he's got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from it, and he shows up with the biggest mask I've seen,\" Trump said, bragging about the large crowds of supporters at his outdoor rallies, many not wearing masks.
\"I just don't want to be doing -- somehow sitting in the Oval Office, behind that 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, it somehow, I don't see it for myself,\" Trump said.
In late May, as the death toll from COVID-19 neared 100,000 and the White House coronavirus task force meetings with experts dwindled down, Trump said he wore a mask behind closed doors on a visit to a Ford plant in Detroit but he \"didn't want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it.\"
\"When you are in a hospital, especially in that particular setting when you are talking to a lot of soldiers, people that in some cases just got off the operating table, I think it's a great thing to wear a mask,\" Trump said in July, calling it \"patriotic.\"
In a White House briefing just last month, Trump was asked why he doesn't wear a mask to set an example, instead of encouraging supporters who view rules requiring masks as a violation of personal freedom.
\"Well, I'm tested, and I'm sometimes surprised when I see somebody sitting and -- like, with Joe. Joe feels very safe in a mask. I don't know, maybe he doesn't want to expose his face,\" Trump said on Sept. 16. \"There's no reason for him to have masks on.\"
\"The president, by his own admission, downplayed the severity of the pandemic. From the start he sent mixed messages on the wearing of masks and other protective measures recommended by his own public health experts,\" said Cohen, a former acting undersecretary for intelligence at the Department of Homeland Security. \"He, his staff and his campaign ignored CDC guidance and that high-risk behavior not only confused Americans -- placing our communities at greater risk -- but it also made the White House a more dangerous place to work and visit.\"
Despite the president and his close adviser Hope Hicks getting sick, a White House spokesman said Friday afternoon that mask wearing still will not be required at the White House, where many had gone without them for months.
President Trump on Saturday was photographed wearing a mask during a visit to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, after months of refusing to don the medical expert-recommended face coverings meant to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
"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," the president told reporters. "I've never been against masks, but I do believe they have a time and a place."
"You're in a hospital setting, I think it's a very appropriate thing," Trump said during a Thursday interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News. "I have no problem with a mask. I don't think you need one when you're tested all the time, everybody around you is tested."
The topic of wearing face masks has become a politicized issue, despite their effectiveness in helping to slow the spread of the deadly virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends individuals wear close-fitting cloth masks in public to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 from the mask-wearing individual to others.
As COVID-19 deaths in the nation top 225,000, President Trump continues to downplay the severity of the pandemic, belittle government infectious disease experts such as Anthony Fauci, and display a cavalier attitude at times toward key public health measures like wearing face masks, despite having contracted the virus himself, along with about two dozen in his inner circle.
Why it matters: Ahead of the rally expected to draw tens of thousands of supporters and protesters, the president's comments underscore his skepticism of the effectiveness of strict enforcement of masks and social distancing to combat the virus that has killed more than 118,000 Americans and devastated the U.S. economy.
Reality check from Axios health care editor Sam Baker: Although it's true that public health officials previously told the public not to wear masks, they never said masks made the virus worse. Their advice was motivated largely by a concern that there weren't enough masks at the time to protect health care workers, who could otherwise spread the infection widely.
Trump has long resisted being photographed in a mask. In early April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a recommendation that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures were difficult to maintain.
In recent days, many Republicans and members of the White House coronavirus task force have been more outspoken in advocating for Americans to wear face masks in public settings as infections have surged in huge swaths of the South and West.
Trump also told Fox Business that people have seen him wearing a mask. But only one image has surfaced of the president wearing a mask. He donned it for a behind-the-scenes tour of a Ford facility in Michigan in May. Reporters were not allowed to accompany Trump on the tour. 041b061a72