Trump just wore a mask in public for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began

By Michelle Mark

President Donald Trump wore a mask in front of the public and the White House press corps on Saturday for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Trump, who has been reluctant to wear a mask in public, donned a navy blue mask with a gold presidential seal on the side during his trip to to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to visit injured service members.

Trump had said in a Fox News interview on Thursday that he intended to wear the mask during his visit.

"I think if I'm in the right setting, if I'm with soldiers… I don't want to spread anything," he told Sean Hannity. "I don't want to cause a problem for anybody. No, I have no problem with masks, but it's got to be done at the right time."

Wearing a mask to prevent the spread of respiratory droplets that could cause coronavirus transmission has become a politicized issue in recent months, despite public health experts' efforts to encourage the public to don face coverings in public.

donald trump
President Donald Trump wears a mask as he walks down the hallway during his visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Saturday, July 11, 2020.
Associated Press/Patrick Semansky

Many Trump supporters have opted not to use the coverings, and photos and videos from recent Trump events in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and at Mount Rushmore, showed crowds with few masks visible.

That has prompted a number of Republicans and prominent Trump allies to speak up in favor of masks. Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy even said Trump wearing one would "set a good example."

Trump himself has sent mixed messages on the practice. At one point he shared a tweet that mocked his Democratic opponent Joe Biden for wearing a face mask, but on another occasion he said he was "all for masks" and said he thought they made him look like the Lone Ranger.

Trump was previously spotted wearing a mask in late May during a trip to the Ford plant in Michigan, but he only wore it during a private part of the factory and did not wear it in front of the media.

"I didn't want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it," he said.