- French President Emmanuel Macron is trying to make wearing the face mask an act of national pride, sporting a navy blue one with an embroidered flag.
- Meanwhile President Donald Trump and his vice-president Mike Pence have both sparked news coverage by not wearing masks even when the rules say they should.
- Trump has previously expressed his dislike for masks and “suggested they were impractical, pointless and beneath the dignity of the leader of the free world,” according to Bloomberg.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
As French President Emmanuel Macron attempts to make wearing face masks an act of national pride, his US counterpart President Donald Trump, and Vice President Mike Pence, notably avoided wearing them.
During a Tuesday visit to an elementary school outside Paris, Macron debuted a dark blue mask, emblazoned with tiny blue, white, and red stripes on the left side – the colours of the French national flag.
The cloth face covering, which was produced by French knitwear manufacturer Chanteclair and is selling in French supermarkets for around $US5, was designed specifically to protect people from catching the coronavirus as the country starts to reopen from May 11.
Macron’s visit to the elementary school coincided with US President Donald Trump’s visit to a factory producing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in Phoenix, Arizona on Tuesday, where he was seen not wearing a face mask despite signs that read: “Face masks required in this area.”
Touring the Honeywell facility to the backdrop of songs including Guns N’ Roses’ “Live and Let Die”, the US president was seen wearing only protective eyewear -going against CDC recommendations to wear a covering over his mouth.
Last month during a press briefing, the president said that he would not wear a face mask. He has also “suggested [masks] were impractical, pointless and beneath the dignity of the leader of the free world,” according to Bloomberg.
The factory tour, which was one of the president’s first major outings in two months, came a week after Vice President Mike Pence attracted much attention for being the only one to decline a face mask during a tour of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
Pence has since told Fox News that he “should have worn a mask” even though, at the time, he “didn’t think it was necessary.”
Macron’s appearance came after his government was criticised for its changing stance on face masks.
In the early stages of the European outbreak – around early March – the French government confiscated industrial-grade masks, reserving them for health workers only, the AP reported.
On March 1, French Health Minister Olivier Véran also told a news conference that many homemade masks were “useless” because they neither conform to technical specifications nor offer real protection from the virus.
But as the outbreak worsened and the country experienced a growing shortage in these masks, the government then urged the public to start making their own at home, the AP said.
On April 28, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said that wearing masks would become compulsory on all forms of public transport, and in high schools, once the lockdown is lifted, the BBC reported.
Macron is not the only public figure seen wearing a stylish face mask to match his outfit.
Slovakian President Zuzana Caputova was spotted wearing a pink mask to match her outfit at the new prime minister’s swearing-in ceremony on March 21.
The governor of Germany’s Bavaria region, Markus Söder, also wore a face mask to several meetings that resembles the blue and white print of his state flag.
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