Trump Asks Reporter To Take off Mask During Press Briefing

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Trump is facing criticism once again for not taking COVID-19 seriously, this time by asking a reporter to remove their mask during a press briefing.

The exchange took place on Monday with Reuters reporter Jeff Mason. Mason was asking Trump about controversial comments made about U.S. soldiers killed at war. While the exchange is brief, it is significant, showing that the President is still not fully understanding the importance of wearing a mask during this pandemic.

When Mason begins to ask his question, Trump interrupts him, saying that the reporter sounded muffled. The briefing transcript shows that the President said, “You’re going to have to take that off.” Trump also asked how many feet away the reporter was, not taking into consideration that although Mason may have been socially distanced from the President, he was still surrounded by other reporters. Mason is being praised for not letting the President convince him to remove his mask, he stated twice that he would just have to “speak a lot louder.” Though the President appeared irritated, he did not press the matter any further, seemingly giving up when the reporter refused his request.

Trump has not been a strong advocate for wearing a mask, despite the CDC’s recommendation to use masks to slow the spread of the virus. He recently shamed Presidential Candidate Joe Biden after he said he would make wearing a mask mandatory if elected. Trump implied that this mandate would take away freedom from people. Later in the press conference, Trump even applauded a reporter who removed their mask to ask their question, saying that they sounded much clearer than those who refused.

There have been over 6 million cases of COVID-19 in the United States, with almost 200,000 deaths. It was only in July, nearly four months into the pandemic, that Trump said he was “getting used to” the idea of wearing a mask. Experts have correlated the high number of cases to the lack of control that leaders have shown during the pandemic. Scientists and Medical Professionals alike believe that if America had acted sooner and had a more unified response from state and federal officials, the U.S. would not have seen as many cases, and the decline would have come sooner. To learn more about COVID-19 and how you can stop the spread, check out CDC guidelines here.