‘I’m all for masks,’ says Trump in change of tone


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President Donald Trump, who has often pushed back against mask guidance from health officials, says he would wear one “in a tight situation with people”.

Mr Trump – who has avoided appearing in public with a mask – also maintained masks do not need to become mandatory to curb Covid-19’s spread.

His remarks to Fox News come a day after Republicans in Congress called on Mr Trump to wear masks as an example.

A number of states are seeing surges in virus cases and deaths in recent days.

The US now has over 2.6 million confirmed Covid-19 infections and more than 127,000 deaths.

Speaking to Fox Business Network on Wednesday, Mr Trump said: “I’m all for masks.”

When asked whether he would wear one, the president said “if I were in a tight situation with people I would, absolutely”, adding that people have seen him wearing one before.

Mr Trump said he would have “no problem” with wearing a mask publicly and that he “sort of liked” how he looked with one on, likening himself to the Lone Ranger.

But the president reiterated that he did not think making face-coverings mandatory across the US was needed, because there are “many places in the country where people stay very long distance”.

“If people feel good about it they should do it.”

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in April began recommending people wear masks or cloth coverings in public to help stop the spread of the virus.

An ABC News/Ipsos poll found that in the last week, 89% of Americans said they wore a mask or face covering outside their home in the last week – a 20-point jump from mid-April.

But Mr Trump has repeatedly emphasised that choosing to follow the official health guidance around masks is a personal decision.

The White House has defended the president’s choice to avoid one by saying everyone in contact with him is tested frequently, along with Mr Trump himself.

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Media caption‘They want to throw God’s wonderful breathing system out’

Last month, Mr Trump told the Wall Street Journal that some people only wear masks as a political statement against him. In May, during a visit to a factory in Michigan, he told reporters he took off a facial covering before facing the cameras because he “didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it”.

Mr Trump has been criticised by Democrats for downplaying the need to wear masks and politicising the idea.

Despite the rising case counts and death toll, anti-mask rallies have taken place in several states, including hard-hit Texas and Arizona.

During Mr Trump’s upcoming Independence Day event on 3 July at Mount Rushmore, the thousands of his supporters in attendance will not be forced to wear masks or socially distance.

More recently, Republicans and conservative media have joined the calls for the president to wear a mask.

Vice-President Mike Pence, who heads the US Covid-19 task force, Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, Senator Mitt Romney and congresswoman Liz Cheney have been among conservatives to urge Americans to wear masks in recent days.

Mr Trump’s daughter and senior adviser, Ivanka Trump, has also been spotted wearing a mask in public.

On Tuesday, Tennessee Republican Senator Lamar Alexander said it was unfortunate that “this simple, lifesaving practice has become part of a political debate that says ‘if you’re for Trump, you don’t wear a mask, if you’re against Trump, you do”.

The same day, US infectious disease chief Dr Anthony Fauci told lawmakers new US cases could reach 100,000 per day, saying the nation was “clearly not in control right now” and not enough Americans are wearing masks or social distancing.

The recent surges have led to a number of states reversing or pausing reopening plans. About 20 states have mandated mask wearing in public.

On Wednesday, California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered bars and indoor dining and entertainment to stop in most of the state, following an all-time single day high of new cases on 30 June, with 8,086 confirmed infections.



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