President Trump on Monday shared a tweet that appeared to make fun of Joe Biden for wearing a mask in public — a step recommended by the CDC to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus that the president has not followed.
Mr. Trump retweeted a post from Fox News political analyst Brit Hume showing a picture of Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, wearing sunglasses and a black mask that covered much of his face at a Memorial Day ceremony. “This might help explain why Trump doesn’t like to wear a mask in public,” Hume wrote.
Biden wore the mask as he and his wife Jill laid a wreath at the Delaware Memorial Bridge in Wilmington. He kept it on as he told reporters his message to the country on Memorial Day: “Never forget the sacrifices that these men and women made. Never, ever, forget.”
It was Biden’s first public appearance in two months, as he has been campaigning virtually from his home in Wilmington during the pandemic. Biden’s wife and members of his staff were also seen wearing masks.
Mr. Trump, meanwhile, has not worn a mask during White House events and public appearances, including his own Memorial Day wreath laying at Arlington National Cemetery.
He put one on during part of his trip last week to a Ford plan in Michigan, which requires all visitors to wear personal protective equipment, but he didn’t wear it during a roundtable discussion and his appearances before the media. The president said he “didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it.”
Nonetheless, a photo of Mr. Trump in a mask emerged from the visit.
Mr. Trump’s refusal contradicts the CDC’s recommendation that all Americans wear masks in public to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Many governors nationwide have suggested or mandated that all citizens wear masks in public when they cannot social distance. Even in the White House, West Wing staffers were directed to wear masks when they aren’t at their desks.
Biden’s campaign hit back at Mr. Trump for his taunt.
“Presidents lead by example, and wearing a mask helps protect others,” Biden spokesman TJ Ducklo said in a statement to the Washington Post. “Donald Trump should try it, because his failure to act early on producing [personal protective equipment], on ramping up testing, and implementing a coherent national response to this crisis has cost thousands of Americans their lives.”
In a Rose Garden press conference on Tuesday, Mr. Trump claimed that he wasn’t mocking Biden but said he found something about it “unusual.”
“Biden can wear a mask,” the president said. “But he was standing outside with his wife, perfect conditions, perfect weather. They’re inside, they don’t wear masks. And I thought it was very unusual he had one on.”
“But I thought that was fine,” he added. “I wasn’t criticizing him at all, why would I do a thing like that?”