- President Donald Trump is facing growing calls to wear a face mask and set a good example for the public.
- “He’d be a good role model. I don’t see any downside to the president wearing a mask in public,” Steve Doocy of “Fox & Friends” said on Tuesday.
- GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander on Tuesday said that Trump’s “admirers” would “follow his lead” if the president wore a mask.
- Trump has politicized wearing a mask, and generally refused to put one on, despite mounting evidence it helps prevent the spread of COVID-19.
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Some of Trump’s staunchest defenders are now stepping up to urge the president and others to wear masks, as coronavirus cases in the US continue to rise at an alarming rate.
“Fox & Friends” host Steve Doocy on Tuesday said Trump would “set a good example” for others by wearing a face mask in public.
“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 while interviewing Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.
“‘MAGA’ should now stand for ‘Masks Are Great Again.’ Let me give you some marketing advice right there,” Doocy added.
Steve Doocy presses the RNC chair on Donald Trump's refusal to wear a mask in public: "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." pic.twitter.com/HUlYDOimuq
— Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis) June 30, 2020
Fox News host Sean Hannity, who like Doocy is typically among Trump’s biggest cheerleaders, also championed wearing masks during his show on Monday night.
“I was in the epicentre of this. I went to my grocery store every week. Guess what? They wore masks. Nobody at my grocery store, thank God, got coronavirus,” Hannity said.
“I think they work,” Hannity added. “And I said – especially if I wear a mask and it opens up baseball, concerts, NFL football – I’d rather wear the mask and go to the game to protect Grandma, Grandpa, Mum and Dad and watch the ball game.”
Hannity: I went to my grocery store every week. Guess what? They wore masks… I think they work. pic.twitter.com/SMwIgZVV5Y
— Acyn (@Acyn) June 30, 2020
A number of Republican lawmakers have also endorsed mask-wearing in recent days.
“Everyone should just wear a damn mask,” GOP Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said last week.
Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee on Tuesday explicitly called on Trump to at least “occasionally” wear a mask.
“The president has plenty of admirers,” Alexander said. “They would follow his lead, it would help end this political debate.”
Similarly, GOP Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday tweeted: “We must have no stigma, none, about wearing masks when we leave our homes and come near other people. Wearing simple face coverings is not about protecting ourselves, it is about protecting everyone we encounter.”
Well over a dozen states and Washington, DC, have mandated mask-wearing in public spaces, and polling has repeatedly shown a strong majority of Americans support wearing face-coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
But Trump has repeatedly pushed against the practice, and recently suggested that some Americans wear masks not as a public health measure but to show they disapprove of him.
The US has the highest reported number of coronavirus cases and confirmed fatalities in the world. As of Tuesday, there were nearly 2.7 million reported cases in the US, and almost 130,000 confirmed deaths from the virus, per Johns Hopkins.