President Donald Trump on Monday sent a campaign email, usually used for soliciting donations, to encourage his supporters to consider wearing a mask.
“We are all in this together, and while I know there has been some confusion surrounding the usage of face masks, I think it’s something we should all try to do when we are not able to be socially distanced from others,” the email, sent by the Trump campaign and signed by the President, read.
The unusual move comes after Trump avoided wearing a mask in public for months until he posted a picture of himself wearing one in a sharp messaging pivot in July though video later emerged Trump not wearing a mask later that day.
The shift to encouraging mask-wearing was primarily inspired by floundering poll numbers, a source who knows Trump’s thinking told CNN last month, and came nearly three months after he publicly announced new mask recommendations from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and two months since he mocked his election rival Joe Biden for wearing one.
In Mondays’s email, Trump indicated mask wearing as a potential of speeding up a return to normal life, mourning the effects of COVID-19 using a stigmatizing and inexact word for the virus.
“I don’t love wearing them either. Masks may be good, they may be just okay, or they may be great,” the email continued. “They can possibly help us get back to our American way of life that so many of us rightfully cherished before we were so terribly impacted by the China Virus.”
Trump added, “My feeling is, we have nothing to lose, and possibly everything to gain, including the next chapter to our country, and to keep things open whether it be schools or businesses.”
President Donald Trump’s change of message, masks have emerged as a sticking point for some of his legislative allies.
Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmet, who was diagnosed with coronavirus last week, had declined wearing a mask, a fact indicated by Rep. Raúl Grijalva when the Arizona Democrat tested positive for the deadly virus after attending a hearing with Gohmert. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reported Wednesday she would need all House members and aides to put on mask on the floor following Gohmert’s illness.
Masks are a key point of many health experts’ recommendations to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and some states and business have needed them. The CDC says that everyone “should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities.”
And the effects can be dramatic. Experts say putting on a mask or any other face covering could suppress the spreadof coronavirus by as much as 50%, and the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation announced in June that id 95% of Americans put on a mask in public, it could stop 33,000 deaths 1 October.