Trump wore a mask in the hallway of Walter Reed when he started his visit. He was not wearing one when he got off the helicopter from the establishment.
The president was a laggard wearing a mask during the pandemic, which has been raging in the United States since March and has infected more than 3.2 million people and killed at least 134,000 people. The most prominent Republicans, including Vice President Mike Pence, approved the wearing of masks as the coronavirus gained ground this summer.
Trump, however, has refused to wear a mask at press conferences, coronavirus task force updates, rallies and other public events. People close to him told the Associated Press that the president was concerned that a mask would make him weak and that he would focus on the public health crisis rather than the economic recovery. They spoke on condition of anonymity to describe private affairs.
Although he doesn’t wear them himself, Trump has sent mixed signals about the masks, acknowledging that they would be appropriate if worn in an indoor environment where people were close to each other. But he accused journalists of wearing them to be politically correct and retweeted messages mocking Democrat Joe Biden for wearing a mask and implying that Biden looked weak.
The wearing of masks has become another line of political demarcation, the Republicans being more resistant to their wearing than the Democrats. Few masks have been seen during recent Trump campaign events in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Phoenix and Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.
The only time Trump was known to wear a mask was during a private party while visiting a Ford factory in Michigan.
On his website, Walter Reed carries this recommendation: “Whenever you go out in public, like in your local grocery store or pharmacy, where it is difficult to maintain 6 feet of social distance, you must wear a cloth face covering. The facility also notes that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing cloth blankets to slow the spread of the coronavirus. “