President Donald Trump wore a mask for the first time in public on a visit to Walter Reed Medical Center on Saturday afternoon.
Trump briefly answered questions before departing the White House to visit troops at the medical center and said that he would wear a mask.
“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,” Trump told reporters. “I’ve never been against masks, but I do believe they have a time and a place.”
It was more than three months ago that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended people wear masks in public, but the president always said he was regularly tested so it was not necessary he wear one.
The mask included the presidential seal. Face coverings are required at Walter Reed Medical Center, per its policy.
“President Trump is at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to visit brave combat wounded service members and their families as well as healthcare staff who have been caring for COVID-19 patients during the pandemic,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement.
Trump did wear a mask at a behind-the-scenes tour of a Ford plant in late May, but not in front of the media, saying he “didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it.”
Trump has regularly come under criticism for not wearing a mask, including last week from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo: “He is enabling the virus. How did this become a political statement? … I’ve been asking him to do it for weeks. Just wear the mask and say to the American people, ‘This is real. And it’s a problem.'”
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