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President Donald Trump wore a face mask during a visit to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, a rare case in which this is done publicly as coronavirus cases continue to accumulate.
Trump was photographed on Saturday as he walked around a dozen officers in the hospital halls wearing a dark blue mask adorned with the President's gold seal.
The President was expected to meet members of the wounded service, their families, and healthcare workers who were at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The event was the first public photo opportunity that Trump has been wearing a mask since the outbreak began. Trump spent about an hour at the Bethesda, Maryland hospital.
President Donald Trump wears a mask in public for the first time when he visits the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. ALEX EDELMAN – AFP via Getty Images
A picture of a masked Trump popped up during his visit to a Ford Motor Co. factory in Michigan in May. The president did not wear the mask during the public part of the factory visit, where ventilators, masks, and other medical devices were made, and said he did not want the press to be pleased to face him.
Despite repeated calls, including from members of his own party, Trump has stubbornly refused to wear a mask and adhered to the official guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the behavior of members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, including Anthony, opposes Fauci and Deborah Birx.
Trump hinted in an interview with Fox News Thursday that he was planning to wear a mask while visiting the hospital.
"I expect to wear a mask when I go to Walter Reed. You're in a hospital, I think that's a very reasonable thing, ”Trump said to host Sean Hannity. "It's okay to wear a mask when you're comfortable."
Trump's statements were in contrast to others he had made on facewear during the pandemic. The president sometimes mocked his democratic challenger Joe Biden for wearing one. Surveys have shown that wearing masks has become a topic of partisan discussion.
Trump held a rally in June in a hall in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where no masks were required. An outdoor rally in New Hampshire on Saturday, which should have been encouraged to wear masks, was postponed due to a tropical storm nearby.
With falling poll values and criticism of his handling of the pandemic, Trump seemed to have come up with the idea of wearing a mask in the past few weeks. He told Fox Business Network on July 1, "I'm all for masks, I think masks are good," but added, "I don't know if they're mandatory."
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