Retired Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) implored President Donald Trump to wear a mask publicly on Sunday to cool the politicization of mask use, appealing to the president’s vanity in the process.
With coronavirus cases and hospitalizations on the rise across the country and states receding from the reopening of their economies, CNN’s Manu Raju asked Alexander on Sunday morning about the president’s resistance to symbolically adopting a protocol for basic security.
“You, I see you wearing your red and black plaid mask all over the capitol, your staff too,” Raju noted on CNN. Domestic policy. “The President, however, refuses to use one. The vice president goes on to say that this is an issue that states should decide. Should the White House do more and the President do more to urge Americans to wear masks?
Alexander, who will leave office at the end of the year, said he wanted Trump to “wear a mask when appropriate,” adding that “millions of Americans admire him” and would therefore follow his example. Recent polls show that while the vast majority of Americans say they have worn masks in public spaces, more Democrats than Republicans have covered their faces amid the pandemic.
The Tennessee lawmaker went on to point out that the administration’s public health experts have said that social distancing, wearing masks, and handwashing can help contain the disease before reiterating that Trump wearing a mask publicly “would eliminate this debate. political”.
“The stakes are too high for that,” he added. “Then I understand why he does it. Most of the time he is with people who have been examined, he has been evaluated, so they are not infecting others. But there are times when he could wear a mask, the vice president could wear a mask, he would signal the country to do so. “
The conservative senator ended his plea to Trump by playing on the president’s well-known obsession with looking strong and tough.
“People admire him and will follow his example,” Alexander concluded. “So I think it would be a sign of strength if I occasionally wore a mask and reminded everyone that it is a good way to help with this disease.”
Vice President Mike Pence said Sunday that while the administration believes that “people should wear masks where social distancing is not possible,” the decision should be left up to states and localities. At the same time, he defended his and Trump’s lack of wearing public masks, noting that he has worn a mask “multiple times” and that Trump has done so at least once.
With COVID-19 cases exploding in Arizona and Texas, the masks have remained a hot political issue in Republican-led states. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has pleaded with Texans to wear masks in public, but has refused to issue a statewide mandate; in fact, it banned localities from imposing sanctions for not wearing one, although it recently allowed them to demand the use of masks in companies. Meanwhile, in Arizona, a councilman was criticized when he protested a local requirement to wear masks, citing George Floyd’s “I can’t breathe” plea.