Mark it, folks: July 11, the first time US President Donald Trump wore a face mask in public during a raging pandemic. And all it took was more than 134,000 people dying from covid-19 for him to finally – finally – put one on.
Trump donned the face covering during a Saturday visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre in Washington, the Associated Press reported. He arrived by helicopter, and while he conspicuously wasn’t wearing a mask when stepping off the aircraft, he at least put one on upon entering the facility to meet with wounded service members and healthcare providers on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis.
“When you’re in a hospital, especially...I think it’s a great thing to wear a mask,” he told reporters.
Note: The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention recommend wearing face coverings in all public settings, not just hospitals, to help curb the spread of the virus. But I suppose we’ll take what we can get at this point.
Oh, how our standards have fallen. The president does the absolute least he can do in abiding by federal health restrictions, something that millions of Americans have been doing for months at this point, and it makes headlines. I’m fully aware of how ridiculous the whole charade is, dear reader, even as I write this.
Even still, I’ll admit I let out an oh-so-weary “Hallelujah” at seeing Trump in a mask for once. And of course he couldn’t wear just any mask, naturally it has to be one that bears the presidential seal lest we fail to recognise him by his Cheeto-dust tan and heinous toupee alone. Honestly, I wouldn’t care if the thing had neon flashing lights and the words “Deplorable-in-Chief” written in glitter on it – whatever gold star the president needs to convince himself to finally put on a damn mask is worth it.
Previously, the president has derided state-wide mandates to wear face masks and refused to wear one at news conferences, coronavirus task force updates, and other public events. Worse still, his repeated opposition has only served to embolden his support base to ignore CDC guidelines too, leading to scores of run-ins with law enforcement and videos of their adult tantrums going viral online.
Maybe it’s the fact that his Tulsa re-election event (aka plague rally) directly led to a coronavirus case spike in the city that finally convinced the president to adopt common-sense health precautions? Or perhaps it could have been any of the other more than 3 million cases of covid-19 recorded to date in America? One can only speculate.
Supposedly, Trump wore a mask on at least one other occasion: during a private tour at a Ford plant in Michigan back in May. But since all footage from the event show him without one and all we have to go on is Trump’s word that he wore a mask in the “back area” of the plant, take that information with a grain of salt.
Featured image: Patrick Semansky (AP)