Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy joined the throngs of people saying that President Donald Trump should wear a face mask. As coronavirus cases climb and public spaces struggle to reopen anyway, public health experts are saying that wearing a mask is more important than ever, though Trump has refused to wear one himself so far. On Tuesday, Doocy argued that by wearing a mask, Trump could be "a good role model" for the American people.
Doocy hosts a show that Trump personally watches often, Fox & Friends, and is typically supportive of the president when he's speaking subjectively. However, while Trump has been aloof to face masks at best, Doocy challenged him on this point on Tuesday during an interview with Ronna McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee. "I think that if the president wore one, it would just set a good example. He'd be a good role model. I don't see any downside to the president wearing a mask in public," Doocy said. He even joked that Trump could turn masks toward his advantage, saying: "'MAGA' should now stand for 'Masks Are Great Again.' Let me give you some free marketing advice right there."
This is the latest in a trend of abrupt turns to pro-face mask rhetoric from Republicans and conservative pundits, according to a report by Politico. Scientists have been unanimous in recommending face coverings since the coronavirus pandemic began, with a new study earlier this month indicating that masks may be the most important factor in slowing the spread of the coronavirus. "Our analysis reveals that the difference with and without mandated face covering represents the determinant in shaping the trends of the pandemic," read the study, published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
Still, throughout the pandemic Trump has refused to wear a face mask in public, even calling their efficacy and safety into question as recently as two weeks ago. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, he called masks a "double-edged sword," citing disproven rumors on social media that masks can restrict breathing or trap germs.
Even Republicans who have advised their constituents to wear a mask have resisted or even refused to wear them themselves in many cases. Vice President Mike Pence recently urged Americans to wear a mask when they go out, yet he himself has been seen without one at many prominent public events in recent weeks.