The navy blue mask with a gold presidential seal on the side could be seen when Trump entered the hospital to visit injured soldiers and healthcare workers who were at the forefront of the coronavirus epidemic.
Military personnel, secret service agents, and White House personnel surrounding the president, including White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, all wore facial covers.
At the hospital, Trump continued to wear his mask when interviewing injured veterans, according to the White House assistant press secretary Judd Deere.
However, Trump did not wear a mask when interviewing reporters outside the White House before leaving for Walter Reed, where he explained in more detail why he was wearing a blanket after declaring on Thursday Fox News host Sean Hannity expected to wear one during the visit.
“I think when you are in the hospital, especially in this particular context, where you talk to a lot of soldiers and people who, in some cases, have just left the operating tables, I think it is a good thing to wear a mask, “Trump told reporters. “I have never been against masks, but I believe they have a time and a place.”
The president stressed this week that he did not think masks were necessary in areas where frequent testing was available and social distancing practices followed.
Trump’s decision to wear a face covering comes after repeated calls from public health experts and legislators urging the President to lead by example as infection rates rise in many Sunbelt states, many of which remain crucial for his re-election.
Arizona, Florida and Texas posted a record number of hospitalizations on Friday, while the United States set a new single-day record of nearly 64,000 cases of coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Health officials have criticized Republican governors of southern states for following the example of the White House and reopening too early, an action they say is largely to blame for the increase in infections.
Texas Governor Gregg Abbott, who recently instituted a new statewide mask order after previously opposing one, warned that the state could lock in again if its residents disregarded not the warrant.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that “people wear cloth face covers in public places” to help prevent the spread of Covid-19, saying that the masks act as a barrier to stop the droplets that contain the virus.
ABC News / Ipsos poll released Friday found a record number of 67% of Americans disapproving of Trump’s response to the pandemic, while 79% support wearing a face mask in an enclosed public space, according to a Fairleigh Dickinson University survey.
Trump’s score for handling the crisis has also dropped steadily among Republicans and independents, key constituencies for re-election in November, the ABC poll found.