Debate: Donald Trump's Family Immediately Takes off Face Masks After Taking Their Seats

President Donald Trump's family took off their masks shortly after arriving at the first presidential debate on Tuesday, and Twitter took notice. Viewers questioned whether this was a breach of coronavirus safety protocols, and if so, whether the family would be admonished. So far, the masks remain off.

The president's wife and children arrived at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, shortly before the debate began at 9 p.m. ET, taking their allotted seats. Once there, viewers noted, they removed their face masks, unlike many other in-person viewers in the audience. While some wondered whether this was allowed, others tweeted that it was "crass" and disrespectful to the families of victims of the coronavirus pandemic. Others shared legitimate concerns for the health of the people in the building.

"Isn't it mandatory to keep them on the whole time?" one person asked. Another person wrote: "They should be made to put them back on or leave. That's childish."

Trump took to his podium right on time on Tuesday, opposite former Vice President Joe Biden. The debate is being held under strict safety precautions, with oversight from Case University medical professionals. The COVID-19 pandemic came up within minutes of the debate starting, leaving no doubt that the subject will loom large in the arguments throughout the night.

The coronavirus has killed over 200,000 Americans so far — a disproportionate percentage of the over 1 million total deaths in the world. No other country has come close to the number of deaths the U.S. has suffered. Only one — Brazil — has even crossed the 100,000 death threshold.

How Trump will answer for this tragedy in the debate remains to be seen. According to a report by CNN, Trump was "averse" to any preparations for this debate. A source close to the president told reporters that he did a total of less than two hours of preparation, including just one consistent session of half an hour. The rest came in "sporadic" bursts, with aides reportedly struggling to keep his attention on flashcards and practice questions.


The conversation will also likely turn to Trump's tax filings, which were finally revealed this weekend in a bombshell report by The New York Times. According to CNN, aides could not get Trump to commit to a single response to this issue. He alternately claimed that the report was false or that the information in it was obtained illegally.

The 2020 presidential election debate is live from 9 p.m. ET to about 10:30 p.m. ET on most major news networks.