President Donald Trump made an appearance Friday morning to participate in a wreath-laying ceremony in celebration of the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day. He and Vice President Mike Pence have been criticized in recent days for failing to cover their faces with protective masks when carrying out public activities. In the past few days, three staffers for Trump and Pence have tested positive for COVID-19. Still, on Friday morning, neither Trump nor Melania can be seen in a mask as they walk around the WWII memorial, speaking to veterans.
In a White House press conference, Kayleigh McEnany was asked whether Trump gave any consideration to wearing a mask during the wreath-laying ceremony, considering these positive tests and the vulnerability of WWII veterans, who would be in their 90s, part of one of the most high-risk populations.
She responded by saying that the president is regularly tested and free to choose whether to wear a mask — and that the veterans made the choice to show up.
Well, this president is regularly tested. This president will make the decision whether to wear a mask or not. I can tell you that those veterans are protected. They made the choice to come here because they’ve chosen to put their nation first. They wanted to be with their commander-in-chief this momentous day. And it was their choice to come here.
Trump isn’t the only one not wearing a mask. In a video shared by the Department of Defense, many, though not all, members of the press can be seen with their faces covered. However, the cameras pan many participants in the ceremony, numerous individuals in military dress, Trump’s entourage, and the veterans he’s meeting with, and there are few masks visible throughout the clip.
— Department of Defense 🇺🇸 (@DeptofDefense) May 8, 2020
The CDC has advised that, because so many individuals could be infected but asymptomatic, and because the virus can have such a long incubation period, wearing a cloth face covering and maintaining a 6-foot distance from others in social environments can help prevent the spread of SARS-CoV2.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com