I’m all for masks, says Trump

United States President Donald Trump speaks at a news conference on Friday, January 3, 2020, at Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, about the killing of Iranian Major General Qassim Soleimani. (Photo: White House/IANS)

Washington, July 2 (IANS) US President Donald Trump, who has long resisted wearing a mask in public, has said he likes face coverings and they make him look like the Lone Ranger, the media reported on Thursday.

“I’m all for masks,” the BBC quoted the President as saying to the Fox Business Network on Wednesday.

When asked whether he would wear one, Trump said: “If I were in a tight situation with people I would, absolutely,” adding that people have seen him wearing one before.

Trump said he would have “no problem” with wearing a mask publicly and that he “sort of liked” how he looked with one on, likening himself to the Lone Ranger, a fictional masked hero who with his Native American friend, Tonto, fought outlaws in the American Old West.

But the President reiterated that he did not think making face-coverings mandatory across the US was needed, because there are “many places in the country where people stay very long distance”.

“If people feel good about it they should do it,” the BBC quoted him as saying in his Fox Business interview on Wednesday.

Trump was also asked iif he still believes the novel coronavirus will “disappear” someday.

“I do,” he said. “I do. Yeah sure. At some point.”

During Trump’s forthcoming Independence Day celebration on Friday at Mount Rushmore, his supporters in attendance will not be forced to wear masks or socially distance.

When the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in April began recommending people wear masks or cloth coverings in public to help stop the spread of the virus, Trump had said that he would not follow the practice.

But he has repeatedly emphasised that choosing to follow the official health guidance around masks is a personal decision, the BBC reported.

In May, during a visit to a factory in Michigan, he told reporters he took off a facial covering before facing the cameras because he “didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it”.

The White House has defended the President’s choice by saying everyone in contact with him is tested frequently for COVID-19, and so is Trump himself.

His daughter and senior adviser, Ivanka Trump, has also been spotted wearing a mask in public.

An ABC News/Ipsos poll found that in the last week, 89 per cent of Americans said they wore a mask or face covering outside their home in the last week – a 20-point jump from mid-April.

As of Thursday morning, the US reported a total of 2,685,806 COVID-19 cases, with 128,044 deaths, both tallies are currently the highest in the world.

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