US President, Donald Trump finally gave in to pressure to live by example by wearing a face mask in public for the first time on Saturday.
President Trump wore a dark mask featuring the presidential seal as he walked through the corridors of Walter Reed military hospital outside Washington to meet with wounded veterans.
The President walked past reporters and did not stop to speak to them.
“I’ve never been against masks but I do believe they have a time and a place,” President Trump said as he left the White House.
News reports this week said aides practically begged the president to relent and wear a mask in public as coronavirus cases soar in some states and as he trails Democrat Joe Biden badly in polls ahead of the November election.
President Trump has continued to support his administration’s handling of the pandemic even though the US is the hardest-hit country in the world, with over 60,000 new cases daily recently and about 135,000 deaths.
Trump’s View on Wearing a Mask
Recently, wearing a mask has spiralled into a political debate among Americans.
Conservatives who support President Trump have failed to back the act of wearing a mask stating that it impinges on their freedom, while progressives tend to back the practice as a show of collective responsibility at a time of a life-or-death crisis.
Even though the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommend people wear masks in public when they cannot engage in social distancing, President Trump, at political rallies, media briefings and elsewhere, has repeatedly avoided wearing a mask, even after staffers at the White House tested positive for the virus.
Trump has reportedly told aides that wearing a mask would make him look weak and he could not stomach the idea of letting the media photograph him in one.
On Saturday, as he left the White House to head to Walter Reed, President Trump made it sound like he would wear a mask only because he would be in a hospital, not that he had come around and embraced the idea of donning one regularly.
He told reporters, “I think when you’re in a hospital, especially in that particular setting, where you’re talking to a lot of soldiers and people that, in some cases, just got off the operating tables, I think it’s a great thing to wear a mask.”