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’It is patriotic to wear a face mask’: Trump encourages Americans to suit up as coronavirus death toll rises

2020-07-22

Better late than never.

President Trump encouraged his supporters on Monday to wear face masks in public — 108 days after his administration recommended the practice as an effective way to curb the spread of coronavirus.

The president, who for months refused to wear a mask and mocked reporters and Democrats for doing so, tweeted out the plea for face coverings along with a photo of himself wearing one.

“We are United in our effort to defeat the Invisible China Virus, and many people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask when you can’t socially distance,” Trump wrote. “There is nobody more Patriotic than me, your favorite President!”

We are United in our effort to defeat the Invisible China Virus, and many people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask when you can’t socially distance. There is nobody more Patriotic than me, your favorite President! pic.twitter.com/iQOd1whktN

The photo Trump tweeted out is from his July 11 visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland, Md. — the first time he wore a mask in public.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released guidelines on April 3 recommending that all people wear masks or makeshift face coverings whenever outside to prevent the virus from being spread unknowingly between asymptomatic individuals.

Despite the CDC recommendations, Trump spent months poking fun at people who wore masks and wouldn’t wear one even as he traveled across the country.

“Oh okay, you want to be politically correct,” Trump said dismissively to a reporter who didn’t want to remove his face mask while asking a question in the White House Rose Garden on May 26.

Trump’s belated mask endorsement came as the U.S. coronavirus death toll surged above 140,000.

Democrats said it was too little, too late from the president and pointed to other deficiencies in his administration’s COVID-19 response.

“It’s also patriotic to have a federal COVID-19 testing plan and a national PPE strategy for our essential workers,” tweeted Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.). “Try giving a damn about our collective public health.”