President Donald Trump is showing off his patriotism, and attempting to thwart the spread of the coronavirus, by wearing a face mask. Although once unwilling to be seen by the public with a face covering, the president proudly boasted the new piece in a photo shared to Twitter on Monday, claiming that "there is nobody more Patriotic than me" while seemingly endorsing face masks.
The image accompanying the caption shows the president wearing a face mask that appears to bear the presidential seal. It was presumably snapped during his visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center earlier this month, which marked his first time wearing a face mask in public. In a stark turn of opinion, the president said that wearing a mask is an act of patriotism.
We are United in our effort to defeat the Invisible China Virus, and many people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask when you can’t socially distance. There is nobody more Patriotic than me, your favorite President! pic.twitter.com/iQOd1whktN— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 20, 2020
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the president has been reluctant to wear a mask in front of the media and the public. He had briefly donned the garment backstage while visiting a Ford plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan in May, though he had not worn during other parts of the tour, telling reporters he "didn't want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it." The president had also foregone wearing a mask when he toured the Honeywell factory in Phoenix, Arizona, that same month, despite signs at the facility stating, "Attention: Face Mask Required in this Area. Thank You."
As controversy sparked over his reluctance to wear the protective gear, which can help slow the spread of the virus, the president made a number of comments regarding his stance on them at once stating that "I've never been against masks but I do believe they have a time and a place." He also claimed that he looked like the Lone Ranger when he wore a mask. In an interview with Fox News that aired Sunday, the president claimed that "masks cause problems, too" and that he doesn't "agree with the statement that if everybody wears a mask everything disappears," according to CNBC. He did, however, seem to soften his stance, adding that, "I'm a believer in masks. I think masks are good."
The president's endorsement of face masks, something that has long been recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), came on the same day that he announced that his daily coronavirus press briefings would be making a comeback. At the start of the pandemic, the briefings had been a daily event, featuring the White House's coronavirus task force discussing the outbreak in the United States, though they had suddenly stopped in April as polls showed they were hurting his reelection chances amid several concerning remarks, including suggesting injecting disinfectants into the body. Announcing their return on Monday, the president said that he "was doing them and we had a lot of people watching, record numbers watching."