On Friday, President Donald Trump announced the CDC's new recommendation that all Americans wear a face covering if they have to go out in public. In the same press conference, he said that he himself would not be wearing one. The remark drew some exasperated responses on social media.
Trump held another press briefing on Friday about the COVID-19 pandemic, revealing that the Center for Disease Control was expanding its recommendations around face coverings. Previously, the center had said that only medical professionals and those who are already sick need to wear masks. Now, it is advising everyone to wear some kind of face covering on the chance that they are carrying the virus without realizing it. Even while conveying this advice, the president commented that he personally would not be following it.
Trump on why he won't wear a face mask, even after the CDC is recommending it: "Wearing a face mask as I greet presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens — I don't know, somehow I just don't see it for myself." https://t.co/b9FtmY5sM4 pic.twitter.com/KOo31S75Ju— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 3, 2020
"The CDC is advising the use of non-medical cloth face covering as an additional voluntary public health measure" Trump said. "It's voluntary, so you don't have to do it."
"I don't think I'm going to be doing it," the president added.
Trump said that he did not think a face covering would be suitable for meetings with "presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens – I don't know, somehow I don't see it for myself." Asked for more details by reporters, he said: "I just don't want to wear one myself... I don't see it for myself. Maybe I'll change my mind."
In a more detailed explanation posted online, the CDC noted that the recommendation for face coverings follows studies showing that people can carry the virus for up to two weeks before showing symptoms, and are often contagious when they are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic. That means that wearing a mask is for the protection of those around you, not you personally. It may prevent germs from spreading to the community.
Face coverings are still not a substitute for social distancing, and the center reiterated its plea for people to stay at home unless absolutely necessary. For the president, there are obviously some social engagements that will be unavoidable.
Here is what social media had to say about Trump's mask commentary on Friday.
I know!? Can he ever just say ordinary things without making us do a double take? Apparently not- What a fool.— Karen Dodemaide (@KDodemaide) April 4, 2020
Some condemned the president for saying that he would not wear a mask while recommending that others do, predicting that the message would be confusing to many Americans — especially those who heard his words out of context. Others argued that the CDC was sending confusing messages as well. A full explanation of the change in recommendation is available on the CDC's website.prevnext
Can you imagine the edges of Trump’s face mask, smeared with his orange makeup?— Woman In The Moon (@SassyKadiK) April 4, 2020
With the elastic bands rubbing streaks on his cheeks?
Hell no he’s not gonna wear a mask, it would give us too much enjoyment.
Many people had jokes ready to go about the president and face masks. They referenced Trump's alleged use of spray tan or other makeup, saying that he was not wearing a mask because it would rub away his toner. The president has previously denied wearing makeup, though other viral photos have seemed to show it coming off on his shirt collars.prevnext
Others joked that there would be a benefit to Trump wearing a face mask — it would muffle his voice. The above political cartoon circulated widely after the president's announcement.prevnext
Other World Leaders
The others will wear masks to hide the fact that they are laughing at anything he says.— Socially Distant (before it was cool) (@RZMike95) April 4, 2020
While Trump said that he would not wear a mask, people wondered if other leaders would begin doing so. Some joked that other politicians would put on masks to hide their expressions while talking to Trump.prevnext
Trump forcing everyone around him to test for COVID-19 over and over again, so he can avoid social distancing and wearing a mask. Meanwhile, testing shortages everywhere. Our President is hoarding tests.— JeffreyFeldman (@JeffreyFeldman) April 4, 2020
Many thought that the president was acting inefficiently with his personal coronavirus practices — frequently testing those around him for the virus and making them wear masks rather than himself. They argued that he should set a better example for the country.prevnext
Twitter users pointed out the mask-wearing habits of other TV personalities so far, including news anchors and other world leaders. Some argued that this showed a hypocritical double standard, saying that the president should not be criticized for doing the same thing as governors and reporters. Others noted that the president was not even expected to wear a mask while speaking on air, therefore saying that he would not wear one at all was pointless and counterproductive.prevnext
This topic is getting way too much air time. Trump is not our “Teacher”, he is not our “Parent”, Trump is not our “God”, these are our #RoleModels! Whether he wears a #mask or not is his choice, not ours! #Corinnavirus https://t.co/tIY7DyZvFb— terrylev (@terry0736) April 4, 2020
Finally, many people felt that the conversation about President Trump's mask comments was pointless, and served only to infantalize the public. They suggested that people should not look to the president as a role model, but instead take the readily available advice of scientists and medical professionals for themselves.
For the latest on the COVID-19 pandemic, visit the CDC's website.prev