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Thursday, July 9, 2020

Trump: 'I expect' to wear a mask during upcoming Walter Reed hospital visit


President Donald Trump on Thursday said he would likely wear a mask while visiting Walter Reed medical center this weekend, taking another step back from his previous reticence toward facial coverings as coronavirus cases continue to soar nationwide.

Speaking with Fox News' Sean Hannity in a live phone interview, Trump said "it's fine to wear a mask if it makes you feel comfortable."

"I expect to be wearing a mask when I go into Walter Reed. You're in a hospital setting, I think it's a very appropriate thing," Trump said. "I have no problem with a mask."

Trump plans to visit the military hospital Saturday to visit combat veterans and health care workers who have been on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

The president's remarks come in stark contrast to his repeatedly unmasked appearances at public events since the beginning of the pandemic, even as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges mask wearing to trap droplets that could contain the virus.

Following a backlash from prominent politicians within his own party, Trump appeared to warm to the idea earlier this month, saying he's "all for masks. I think masks are good."

During his Thursday interview, Trump felt that wearing a mask shouldn't be necessary in certain settings, such as where testing is widely available or amid social distancing. Still, he said he was concerned about spreading germs to patients at the hospital.

"I don't want to spread anything. And a lot of it is you spreading, not them spreading," Trump said. "And I don't want to cause a problem for anybody."

Trump mocked Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden for sporting a mask during a Memorial Day ceremony, although photos taken surreptitiously during a tour of a Ford plant in Michigan in May showed the president wearing one while separated from journalists.



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