Calls are intensifying for a national mask mandate as the US grapples with rising COVID-19 cases, but Donald Trump just ended any speculation that he’s willing to give such an order.
In an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace set to be aired in full on Sunday, President Trump responded to rumors about enacting an order for all Americans to wear face coverings in public.
After California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a blanket mask-wearing order in mid-June, other state governors are beginning to follow suit.
Some Democrat politicians such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) have been agitating for a national order, but Trump has stood firmly against attempting a nationwide mandate thus far.
Trump told Wallace he will not issue such an order because he wants to preserve a “certain freedom” and explained that the inconsistent message about masks from the onset of the pandemic until now indicates that a national mandate is not warranted.
“Hey, Dr. Fauci said, don’t wear a mask,” Trump explained. “Our Surgeon General – terrific guy – said, don’t wear a mask. Everybody who is saying don’t wear a mask – all of sudden everybody’s got to wear a mask, and as you know, masks cause problems, too. With that being said, I’m a believer in masks. I think masks are good.”
“I want people to have a certain freedom, and I don’t believe in that,” Trump told Wallace. “No, and I don’t agree with the statement that if everybody wears a mask, everything disappears.” Some public health officials have said that if everyone in the US would wear a mask, COVID-19 would be eradicated, though CDC face-covering guidelines do not indicate that there is a scientific basis for this assertion.
As with much of the COVID-19 response, Trump has left decisions about masks up to state governors and local policymakers.
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