"When you can use the mask, if you're close to each other, if you're in a group, I would put it on when I'm in a group," he said.
Trump, in a shift in rhetoric on facial coverings, encouraged Americans on Tuesday to wear a mask if they cannot maintain social distance from people around them in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
In his first briefing focused on the pandemic in months, Trump told reporters at the White House that the virus will probably get worse before it gets better.
DONALD TRUMP: OK, please.
- Mr. President, thank you very much. Yesterday you said that wearing a mask was an act of patriotism. If that is the case, why don't you do it more frequently?
DONALD TRUMP: Well, I do actually do it when I need. I mean, I carry the mask. When I have to go-- I went into Walter Reed Hospital the other day. I have the mask right here. I carried, and I will use it gladly. No problem with it, and I've said that.
And I say if you can, use the mask. When you can, use the mask. If you're close to each other, if you're in a group. I would put it on when I'm in a group. If I'm in an elevator and there are other people with me-- including like security people, it's not their fault they have to be in the elevator, I want to protect them also-- I put on a mask. I will--
I have no problem with the masks. I view it this way. Anything that potentially can help-- and that certainly can potentially help-- is a good thing. I have no problem. I carry it, I wear it. You saw me wearing it a number of times and I'll continue.
- Thank you.
- A lot of Americans are maybe surprised at your change of tone over all of this, some more perhaps realistic tone, some will look at it that way. The sudden embrace of masks, social distancing, the--
DONALD TRUMP: No, I've always agreed with that. I mean, I've never fought either one. But certainly social distancing, I want to-- that's common sense. Six feet to me is common sense. I'd like to say maybe make it a little bit further.