Trump Wears Mask in Public for First Time During Pandemic

WASHINGTON (AP) -
President Donald Trump visits Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, July 11. (Reuters/Tasos Katopodis)

President Donald Trump wore a mask during a visit to a military hospital on Saturday, the first time the president has been seen in public with the type of facial covering as a precaution against spreading or becoming infected by the novel coronavirus.

Trump flew by helicopter to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in suburban Washington to meet wounded servicemembers and health care providers caring for COVID-19 patients. As he left the White House, he told reporters: “When you’re in a hospital, especially … I think it’s expected to wear a mask.”

Trump was wearing a mask in Walter Reed’s hallway as he began his visit. He was not wearing one when he stepped off the helicopter at the facility.

Trump has declined to wear a mask at news conferences, coronavirus task force updates, rallies and other public events.

The only time Trump has been known to wear a mask was during a private part of a tour of a Ford plant in Michigan.

On its website, Walter Reed carries this recommendation: “Whenever you’re out in public, like at your local grocery store or pharmacy, where it’s difficult to maintain 6 feet of social distance, you should wear a cloth face covering.” The facility also notes that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the coronavirus.”