The U.S. continues to lead the world in coronavirus cases, but that didn’t stop President Donald Trump from taking aim at Democratic rival Joe Biden for choosing to wear a mask at public appearances ― the protocol that federal health officials constantly urge as a key to stemming the pandemic.
Speaking at a rally in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, Trump on Thursday asked supporters if they’d ever seen “a man that likes a mask as much” as Biden.
“He makes a speech and always has it ― not always, but a lot of times ― he has it hanging down, because you know what? It gives him a feeling of security,” Trump told the largely mask-free crowd. “If I were a psychiatrist, I’d say, ‘This guy’s got some big issues.’ Hanging down. Hanging down!”
While the president has repeatedly downplayed and politicized the wearing of masks, he said Thursday he was “all for” taking social distance measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 over Labor Day weekend.
“Distance on the weekend, and all of that stuff,” he said. “Wear your mask when you’re close together in particular and wash your hands, all of those things.”
It isn’t the first that the president has mocked Biden over the mask issue.
In May, he retweeted Fox News commentator Brit Hume, who criticized the Democratic presidential nominee for wearing a mask at a Memorial Day ceremony in Delaware.
This might help explain why Trump doesn’t like to wear a mask in public. Biden today. pic.twitter.com/9l1gw1ljBE
— Brit Hume (@brithume) May 25, 2020
Speaking to CNN’s Dana Bash a day later, Biden blasted Trump as “an absolute fool” for attempting to deepen the partisan divide over the wearing of masks.
“Presidents are supposed to lead,” he said, “not engage in folly and be falsely masculine.”
By July, Trump had appeared to backpedal somewhat, tweeting an image of himself wearing a mask and calling the act “patriotic.”
Just hours later, however, he was seen at a Washington fundraiser without a mask. And last week, few among the large crowd on White House grounds listening to Trump’s speech accepting the Republican presidential nomination wore masks.
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