A maskless Melania Trump shakes hands with dozens of children and hugs some at a White House event

AP Photo/J. Scott ApplewhiteFirst lady Melania Trump at a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment.
  • Despite overwhelming data supporting the use of face masks and social distancing to contain the spread of COVID-19, the White House is continuing to spurn both practices at highly publicized events.
  • First lady Melania Trump and many other attendees went maskless at a Monday White House event geared toward children that celebrated the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment.
  • Trump spoke and shook hands with many of the maskless children and hugged some of them, according to CNN reporter Kate Bennett.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Despite overwhelming data supporting the use of face masks and social distancing to contain the spread of COVID-19, the White House is continuing to spurn both practices at highly publicized events.

First lady Melania Trump and many other attendees went maskless at a Monday White House event geared toward children that celebrated the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which afforded white American women the right to vote.

Trump spoke and shook hands with many of the maskless children and hugged some of them, according to CNN reporter Kate Bennett. In the crowd at the event, high-profile White House and administration officials, including second lady Karen Pence, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, mingled without wearing masks.

The event was held outdoors, and the White House told Business Insider that all attendees were tested for the coronavirus when they arrived. But the rapid tests the administration uses aren’t 100% reliable, and images of the event sent a message to Americans that masks and social distancing aren’t necessary.

While the first lady urged Americans to wear face masks and socially distance in a video and tweet in early April, she’s rarely worn a mask in public. Recent polling showed a majority of Republicans support wearing masks and government mask-wearing mandates, but there’s still widespread noncompliance with mitigation policies across the country.

President Donald Trump and his administration have held dozens of events at the White House that similarly failed to set an example for the nation in regard to COVID-19.

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, second lady Karen Pence, and secretary of education Betsy DeVos also attended the event without wearing masks.AP Photo/J. Scott ApplewhiteWhite House adviser Kellyanne Conway, second lady Karen Pence, and secretary of education Betsy DeVos also attended the event without wearing masks.

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