- A senior official told the Associated Press that the White House will not require face masks, even after President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis.
- The official said that wearing a mask or face-covering is a “personal choice.”
- Top public health experts have repeatedly urged Americans to wear masks, touting them as the most powerful tool against the virus.
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A senior Trump administration official on Friday said masks will not be required in the White House, even after President Donald Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19, the Associated Press reported.
The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told AP that face coverings are “a personal choice.”
The White House did not offer a comment when contacted by Insider.
There’s a wide body of evidence that masks play a crucial role in preventing the spread of COVID-19, and top public health experts have been urging Americans to wear them for months.
“We have clear scientific evidence they work, and they are our best defense,” Dr. Robert Redfield, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told senators in mid-September. “I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against Covid than when I take a Covid vaccine.”
“Anybody who has been listening to me over the last several months knows that a conversation does not go by where I do not strongly recommend that people wear masks,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top expert on infectious disease, said in a recent interview on ABC News’ “Start Here” podcast.
On top of repeatedly downplaying the threat of COVID-19, which has killed over 207,000 Americans, Trump has repeatedly flouted recommendations to wear a mask or face-covering. “I don’t agree with the statement that if everybody wears a mask, everything disappears,” Trump said in a July interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace.
During the first presidential debate on Tuesday, the president mocked former Vice President Joe Biden over his mask-wearing habits.
—ABC News (@ABC) September 30, 2020
“When needed, I wear masks. I don’t wear masks like him,” Trump said of the former vice president. “Every time you see him, he’s got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from them, and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.”
Biden tested negative for COVID-19 on Friday, as the news of Trump’s diagnosis rattled global markets and added a new level of chaos to an already tumultuous election cycle.